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Biography of Romuald HAZOUMè

Benin > Arts : Romuald HAZOUMè

Romuald HAZOUMè
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Born on 02/03/1962 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Romuald Hazoume (born in 1962) is a Beninese sculptor and painter.

Romuald Hazoumé lives and works in Porto Novo, Benin. His cultural heritage finds expression in both his masks and installations. He co-founded the museum for contemporary art in Cotonou, Benin.
In his presentation at DOCUMENTA 12 press conference on June 13, 2007, Hazoumé explains his work in the context of globalization and migration. He talks about a dream that people in Benin and other West African countries have. Families pay money to send their children to Europe. When the dream turns bad the children go missing. Romuald Hazoumé tells his people about this bad dream, he wants his people to stay and take care of their communities. “I’d rather use a different angle and look at the mourning of those who stayed in Africa who are unaware of where their children’s bodies are, who don’t know where their children are. This is what my work is all about.”

“When I asked friends and acquaintances, people I simply met also the people involved in migration particularly illegal migration…. one woman told me the following, it was a woman, who lost her oldest child. And she said: I used to be able to eat fish but these days I can’t even go and try and catch fish, because I think that fish may well have eaten my son’s body. I don’t even feel like putting a foot in the water because if I do I have a feeling that I’d be drenched in the blood of my son.”

His installation for DOCUMENTA 12, "Dream," is a boat made out of 421 gasoline canisters, representing passengers who paid to leave their country, hoping to arrive at a better place. The backdrop is a photograph of a beach landscape. A text on the floor in several languages says:

“Damned if they leave
and damned if they stay:
better, at least to have gone
and be doomed in the boat of their dreams”

In September 2007, he was awarded in DOCUMENTA 12 the Arnold Bode Prize , worth 10.000 euros. This prize is awarded  to distinguished contemporary artist.

Last update : 07/08/2008

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