Barthélémy Toguo (born in 1967, M’Balmayo, Cameroon), is a multi-discipline artist working with watercolor, sculpture, photography, video, installations and performance art. He started his art studies at the Abidjan School of Fine Arts in Ivory Coast. His studies continued in Europe where he attended Grenoble’s Graduate School of Art and Klaus Rinke’s studio at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf.
His first training involved reproducing classic European sculpting until in 1992, he took a woodcarving workshop that would radically change his approach. In Grenoble, he discovers photography and video and later encounters “German realism” while studying in Düsseldorf. It is here that he became interested in performance art and in 1996 he performs his “Transit” series.
In 1998, Toguo began his work with watercolor. Much of his watercolor series are inspired by his travels and experiences. Politics also enters into his work as seen in his wood sculpture series “The New World Climax”. Giant wood carved “rubber stamps” with engraved inscriptions similar to those found on passports and administrative documents illustrate the difficulty encountered by immigrant workers.
Toguo is also committed to the promotion and presence of art in Africa and especially his native Cameroon. Since 2005, he has been working on a non-profit cultural center in Cameroon. Called Bandjoun Station, its aim is to promote and support local as well as international artists by giving them a space to create and perform their art.