Barthélémy Toguo: genius and flair

At age 50, Barthélémy Toguo, a multi-disciplinary artist from Cameroon, has risen to become a world-renowned figure in modern art. This globetrotting artist splits his time between Paris, New York, and Pète-Bandjoun in western Cameroon, where he founded Bandjoun Station. With uncanny intuition, Toguo promotes emerging artists through this one-of-a-kind cultural and farming project. During a layover between two flights, he speaks with us at his Parisian studio.

Along a peaceful street in Paris’ 20th arrondissement, on the fifth floor of a modern apartment building, Barthélémy Toguo’s studio opens onto a modestly sized room with beautifully high ceilings. The eye is immediately drawn to a huge bay window bordered by a French balcony. Sun streams in through the panes, flooding the entire studio with light. Throughout the room, plants add a healthy dose of green. A loft overlooks a desk covered with the artist’s papers and personal effects. Photographs line the opposite wall above stacks of suitcases still bearing the marks of a recent trip to China. “I just got back from Jingdezhen, the world capital of porcelain,” says Toguo when we clumsily ask about Beijing.

The artist has a keen eye for detail, after all. With his typical affable charm, Toguo readily agrees to pose for our photographs, not hesitating to suggest different angles and viewpoints that he thinks would work better.

By Françoise Diboussi

The full article is available in the 4th issue of MOYI.