MAGNIN-A Gallery is pleased to present a solo show of Romuald Hazoumè for FIAC 2019: “Zo cooter”.
Romuald Hazoumè, born in 1962, is presenting an ensemble that includes the work “ZoCooter”, photographs of can masks and paintings. This set of works evokes the ritual practiced by the oil smugglers that risk their lives by crossing the border between Benin and Nigeria on motorcycles filled-up with adulterated oil. These young men, called “Kpayoman”, were consulting the oracles before each trip. Their destiny is linked to “signs” that appear, authorizing them to “go out” or not, to cross the border. Those signs can be found in the paintings presented here. They come from the “FA” divination system, foundation of the Vodun, to which the artist says he belongs to.
Central to this smuggling of oil, Romuald Hazoumè takes the element of the mask, stereotype of primitivism, and reinterprets it through the most visible element of the oil trafficking: the jerrycans. Diverted, these masks become the representation of his vision of society, of events and global issues. They are the very symbol of the acculturation between Africa and Europe.
“Je suis le poumon et le cœur du monde », by Chéri Samba, accompanies this set of works by Romuald Hazoumè. It answers the questions raised by Romuald Hazoumè on the links between North and South, and reminds with irony the dependence of the West towards the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.