Mythologies of Cameroon and the works of Barthélémy Toguo

There are many traces of thoughts, such as mythologies of Cameroon, behind and the works of Barthélémy Toguo. Some of the introductions to read more.

PartageVII / 2020 / ink on canvas / 200 x 200 cm

■ Barthélémy Toguo: Partages

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Edmond Jabès, the poet and writer of African (Egypt) origins.  His works has never ceased to enlighten us.  With his questions and formulations, Edmond Jabès is in harmony with my vision of the world, and his work resonates with my artistic practices.  A complicity of thought emerged when reading his writings.  Learning more about the world of Edmond Jabès, particularly his “Livre du Partage” (the Book of Shares) inspired me to conceive an artistic proposal during the Busan 2020 International Biennale in Korea; this resulted in a series of 8 paintings entitled Partages I – VIII.

My Personal exhibition at Galerie Lelong & Co. in September 2021 will continue the work started in Busan in 2020.  This project, which consists of series of blue paintings produced in 2020 and 2021, will include a brand-new interactive installation:  the public will be invited to make a material donation or send a paper or electronic message.”

Barthélémy Toguo, 2021

Around the idea of partage (sharing), the artist Barthélémy Toguo has created links between the writer Edmond Jabès and the Bamiléké people, through their shared African origins, genocide, wandering and exile.  Barthélémy Toguo was inspired by legend of Bamiléké people relating the fury of divinity who, as night falls, puts on huge shoes and laden with parcels, crosses the land handing out tears, chagrin and misery as punishments for those who have contravened shared values. A humanist, Barthélémy Toguo has taken this legend and adapted it to his own values of listening, forgiving, hospitality and sharing.  Thus, the divine fury becomes a driver of generosity and the “re-modelled” Bamiléké spirit performs its nocturnal wanderings differently, more peacefully, handing out riches of all sorts to help lead the world to a better destiny.

From press release for the exhibition Barthélémy Toguo: Partages at Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris: : exhibition Sept. 9 - Oct. 23, 2021

©Barthélémy Toguo / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co. & Bandjoun Station

note:The Bamiléké are socio-cultural group who live in the highlands of West Cameroon.  A Bamiléké chiefdom is a sort of micro-state centered around a powerful king enjoying the power of semi-divine being.