Camille Tété Azankpo: Artist Resume


Azankpo is a self-made man and a self-taught artist. He had to learn to fend for himself early in life: At the age of 16, he had already left school for financial reasons, and in the years that followed, did all kinds of jobs to earn a living. He worked as a welder and metal worker, as a real estate agent, advertising homes for rent from posters on poles in the street, as a painter of advertising boards, as a serigrapher. His artistic career, that spans over 20 years, was launched in 1997 with Les Épouvantails des Champs, an open air installation. Today, he is an accomplished artist, creating unique pieces that are the result of complex life experiences, deep intellectual reflection, and intense physical work.

A mixed media artist, Azankpo uses plywood as a first layer and stitches onto it pieces that he has cut from materials he collects: enamel basins and metal containers. Each piece is carefully chosen for its themes, motifs, colors and purpose.

The enamel basins were originally acquired by women for their aesthetic appeal and the symbolism of their motifs - fruit, fish, peacocks, hunters, political figures, flowers, tigers, symbolizing prosperity, luck, and individual or collective affinities. They were a critical part of their owners’ history – they carried dowries, bathed children, held food shared among families, and transported goods sold at the market. Their importance in lives may be compared to that of wax prints. Although made in China, India, Nigeria, Eastern Europe or Spain, they became part of national culture.

The metal boxes and canisters, that Azankpo finds and buys on the second-hand market in Togo, come from all over the world. They contained chocolates, cookies, card games, video games, crayons, glue, baby powder, nivaquine, champagne… you name it! Some of these products are still being commercialized today, some have given way to more modern versions. They originate largely from multinational corporations, based in Asia, Europe or America. Azankpo chooses them not only for their motifs but for the story they tell. The resulting artworks can be read like a book, each element being a part of the narrative.

 Bringing together these uniquely selected materials into complex works, Azankpo describes his art best: “The basin contained lives, it was present in every household. The metal box is a reflection of our current times, and what sustains us… food, entertainment, medicine. Basins and metal containers, coming from the far reaches of our world, meet in my work to tell universal human stories.”

 Each of Azankpo’s series builds on his past work – as he creates, future artworks take shape in his mind.

 

Exhibitions

Solo Exhibitions

 2019
Galerie Agama, Toulouse, France
 2018
Galerie Agama, Marseille, France
 2017
Galerie Agama, Toulouse and Marseille, France
 2015
The Black VIP, Galerie AF, Lomé, Togo
 2011
Metal Work, Galerie AF, Lomé, Togo
 2010
The Black VIP, Centre culturel français, Cotonou, Benin
 2009
La Vache, Galerie 23, Amsterdam, Netherlands
 2007
Profils ou Faces, at Michel Aveline’s, Paris, France
 2006
L’Album du Soldat, Centre culturel français, Lomé, Togo
2004
Tout pour le Quotidien, Stadthalle, Osnabrück, Germany
 2001
Dans le Miroir de l’Autre, Deutsche Bank, Osnabrück, Germany
 2000
Sur les Traces de la Bassine Émaillée, Centre Culturel Français, Lomé, Togo
 

Collective Exhibitions

2020
Three Borders, Palais de Lomé, Lomé, Togo
2019
Inaugural Exhibit, African Art Beats Gallery, Washington, DC, USA
Lumières d’Afriques, Marrakech, Morocco
2018
Lumières d’Afriques, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Lumières d’Afriques, Eumestaat/Darmstadt, Germany
 2017
Cabinet de Curiosités of Michel Aveline, Lomé, Togo
Lumières d’Afriques, Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Lumières d’Afriques, Musée Théodore Monod, Dakar, Senegal
Ecole de Lomé, Galerie Agama, Marseille and Toulouse, France
2016
Lumières d’Afriques, Fondation Donwahi, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
2015
Lumières d’Afriques, Théâtre National de Chaillot and Gare du Nord, Paris
 2014
Lomé-Dakar, Atelier Céramiques Almadies, Dakar, Senegal
Western Vodoun, sur la route des esclaves, by Galerie AF, Ouidah, Benin
 2012
Inventer le monde, The 2012 Cotonou Biennale, Benin
Galerie Frank Schlag and Cie, by ARTCO, Germany
 2011
Now look at me, Kulturkirche, Bremen, Germany
Afrikas Moderne, Museum Haus der Völker im Schwarz Tirol, Vienna, Austria
 2010
North Meets West, ARTCO, National Museum, Bamako, Mali
In and Out of Africa, Henn Art and ARTCO Gallery, Maastricht, Netherlands
 2009
Joburg Art Fair, ARTCO, Johannesburg, South Africa
La Mascarade and La Lettre Ouverte à Heinrich Böll, Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren, Germany
 2008
La Mascarade, Foundation Heinrich-Böll, Berlin, Germany
 2002
Arte Global, by Gabriele Saure, Berlin, Germany
Art in Action, Alliance française, Accra, Ghana
 2001
Grands et jeunes d'aujourd'hui, Assemblée Nationale, Paris, France
La Féminité au Présent, Galerie Médoc, Bordeaux, France
 1999
Le Geste de la gestion, Galerie Zaka, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
 

Residencies

 2020 - Festival Libre Art, Nouakchott, Mauritanie
2017 - Le Centre, Cotonou, Bénin
2008/2009 - Heinrich Böll House, Langenbroich, Germany
 

Collections

 Leopold-Hoesch-Museum
Institut français du Togo
Blachère Foundation
Kindermann Collection

In the Media

Azankpo's work was mentioned in Reinventing African Art Museums in Changing Times, a webinar held by 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair on July 8, 2020.