Romuald Hazoumé
Photo: Jonathan Greet
Photo: Jonathan Greet

b. 1962, Porto Novo, Benin

Romuald Hazoumé began his artistic career in the late 1980s without any formal artistic training. Though raised in a Catholic family, he remains connected to West African Vodun, which he often uses as a guiding principal or inspiration for his work.

Hazoumé uses salvaged materials as an artistic medium, transforming discarded items into spiritually and culturally significant works and installations. He is most widely recognized for his masks made of old gasoline containers and the like, which convey the Vodun idea that materials possess a spiritual nature of their own. Through his choice of objects—metal, liquor bottles, and petrol containers—Hazoumé also explores cultural and political issues such as globalization, the legacy of slavery and colonization, and the role of the oil industry in Benin.

The artist’s solo exhibitions include Romuald Hazoumé: Cargoland, October Gallery, London (2012); Romuald Hazoumè, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2011, traveled); Romuald Hazoumè: My Paradise – Made in Porto Novo, Herbert Gerisch- Stiftung, Neumünster, Germany (2010); Exit Ball, aliceday, Brussels (2009); and Romuald Hazoumé: La Bouche du Roi, The Menil Collection, Houston (2005, traveled). His work has also been shown in numerous group exhibitions such as 100% Africa, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2006); African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2005, traveled); and Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent, Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (2004, traveled). He participated in the 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009); 3rd Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2000); 1st Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art (1999); and 6th Bienal de La Habana (1997).