Lot 3
  • 3

Romuald Hazoumè

8,000 - 12,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Romuald Hazoumè
  • La Mère Cotivet
  • signed and dated 2001 (on the reverse)
  • found objects
  • 39.5 by 26.5 by 11.4cm., 15½ by 10½ by 4½in.
  • Executed in 2001


October Gallery, London (acquired in 2009)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011


London, October Gallery, Romuald Hazoumè - Made in Porto-Novo, 2009, illustrated in the catalogue


Bartholomäus Grill, Daniela Roth, Martin Henatsch, Romuald Hazoumè: My Paradise: Made in Porto-Novo, 2010, illustrated p. 105

Catalogue Note

Romuald Hazoumè is a Beninese artist known for his masks assembled from recycled jerry cans and other found materials. The jerry cans are originally used to contain fuel that is traded between Benin and Nigeria. As with La Mère Cotivet, Hazoumè often hangs a bundle of synthetic hair along the plastic frame, to identify some of his sculptures as female.

He explains, ‘My masks aren’t the same power objects as those masks formerly used for ceremonial purposes. Instead, they’re portraits of real people I know, of sketches inspired by something, maybe a photograph I’ve recently seen. In Africa today, much attention is paid to the way women dress their hair, and lots of information is transmitted in the coded language of coiffure’ (October Gallery, Romuald Hazoumè, Cargoland, 2012, p. 2).

Hazoumè’s masks explore contemporary African identities, in his re-use of plastic jerry cans which reference the traditional African masks used in ceremonial masquerades. The conventional use of wood in making masks is culturally significant, in the belief that wood is the home of the honoured dead. In his sculptures, Hazoumè’s use of plastic jerry cans re-contextualises the idea of traditional masks to challenge misconceptions about the nature of African identities today.

Romuald Hazoumè’s work is included in the collections of The British Museum, La Fondation Zinsou, Queensland Art Gallery, and The Walther Collection. He has been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, the Saatchi Gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Menil Collection and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.