Romuald Hazoumè, Aladé, 2016 © Romuald Hazoumè. Courtesy October Gallery, London.
Romuald Hazoumè, Croissant de lune, 2004 © Romuald Hazoumè. Courtesy October Gallery, London.
Romuald Hazoumè, Pied a terre, 2004 © Romuald Hazoumè. Courtesy October Gallery, London.
Romuald Hazoumè (b. 1962, Porto-Novo, Benin), one of Africa’s foremost contemporary artists, received the prestigious Arnold Bode Award at documenta 12 (2007). In centuries past, Benin played a major role in the bitter history of the international slave trade, and Hazoumè’s work reflects on the way legacies of such historically asymmetric power relations survive into the present. This exhibition presents two series of photographic works and installations as metaphors of African place, history and identity. One photographic series documents the incredible realities of the petrol-trafficking network that keeps Benin’s vehicles fuelled and its struggling economy afloat. A second series portrays an entirely different world of colourfully costumed masqueraders who incarnate Egungun ancestor figures in a voodoo ritual that showers blessings upon individuals, families and communities alike. This is Hazoumè’s first solo exhibition in Japan.