Self-taught artist Pascale Marthine Tayou was born in 1967 in Cameroon. He was raised to become a lawyer; however, he believed law was too “perfect”. Thus, he began his artistic career in the early 1990s. He currently lives and works in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and in Ghent, Belgium.
Like his nomadic lifestyle, Tayou does not confine his art to specific mediums, including and not limited to sculpture, drawing, photography, and installation. His work deals with a variety of themes and draws inspiration from all over the world as well as from his own local traditions. He explores contemporary ideas of person and national identity, post-colonialism, multiculturalism, and Africa’s relationship with the rest of the globe. Tayou uses different materials, including recycled materials, as seen in Plastic Bags (2010), to create his pieces. This is due to his idea of connecting with the contemporary world and emphasis on “revelations”. Epiphanies may occur during his process of creation, thus perfecting his originally “imperfect” work. Although his work is not interactive, Tayou hopes that his audiences may also experience their own epiphanies when viewing his creations. He won the 2011 ARKEN Prize, which was awarded by the Annie & Otto Johs. Detlefs’ Philanthropic Foundation at Copenhagen, recognizing him as one of the leading contemporary artists of Africa.
The artist’s recent solo exhibitions include Nylonkong Dreams (2018), Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, China; Voodoo Child (2017), Galleria Continua, Les Moulins, France; Beautiful (2017), Bass Museum, Miami, USA; Sunrise Surprise (2016), Les ateliers PM Tayou & Co, Ghent, Belgium; Boomerang (2015), BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium; World Share: Installations by Pascale Marthine Tayou (2014), UCLA Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, USA; Secret Garden (2012), MACRO, Rome, Italy; Plastic Bags (2012), Gare Saint Lazare, Paris, France; and Traffic Jam (2010), Gare Saint Sauveur, Lille3000, Lille, France. He has also participated in group exhibitions such as Sanguine (2018), MUHKA, Antwerp, Belgium; METROPOLIS, AFRIQUES CAPITALES (2017), Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris, France; I Travelled the World and the Seven Seas (2017), Royal Athenaeum Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; Earth & Ever After (2016), 21-39 Jeddah Arts, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Heaven, Hell, Purgatory—the Divine Comedy from the Perspective of Contemporary African Artists (2015), National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C., USA.