In a period when the general trend of art embraces hyper-realism and figuration, Cameroonian artist Salifou Lindou explores abstraction through his human figures. Salifou Lindou is deep and unconventional. Surely the manipulation of shapes and lines is the base of his imaginarium.
However, his artistic approach conveys a whole set of meanings and considerations of human nature. In the juxtaposition of lines, he gives to his characters strength and fragility at the same time.
Despite the abstraction of his illustrations, he values the body. His drawings are emotional and his characters are in movement. The transfigured corporeity he displays makes the viewer question and reflect. Surely, the result is intense, emotionally overwhelming.
By distorting and manipulating human traits, he puts on the scene the mystery of life. In particular, the artist uses his mastery in drawing to create something that communicates directly to our souls.
Looking at his canvas means to take a step behind to catch – clearly as never before – the perpetual struggle of men and women.
Salifou Lindou is a painter and sculptor. Actually his work derives from ceaseless experimentation with materials. In particular, Lindou often employs waste materials to spread environmental awareness.
Born in 1965 in Foumban, Camerun, the artist lives and works in Doula, in the district of Bonamouti. As a kid, he was fascinated by the traditional bronze handicraft of his native city. The intrigue and the mystery of those works gave him a scope. That is how art entered Lindou’s world.
He is among the most remarkable artist of the 90ies. However, besides his individual artistic development on the national and international stage, Lindou’s creativity deeply influenced the emerging Cameroonian artists. Lindou is the founder member of the Kapsiki Circle, a collective of five plastic artists from Douala. Mainly concerned with urban issues, the members of the circle accompany young designers and creators.
Together with the collective Skurk, the Kapsiki Circle designed the first urban scenographies back in 2003. During the same year, he also exhibited at the Mam Gallery as part of the project initiated by the French Cultural Center of Douala. In 2002, he participated at the International Contemporary Art Fair of the South, in Paris, France. Then, in 2005, he displayed his works in ARCO, International Exhibition of Contemporary Spanish Art, in Madrid, Spain. In 2009, he exhibited at doual’art in Cameroon with Emotions partagées, in collaboration with Christian Hanussek.
The installations of the artist reflect the approach he uses in his canvas. That is to say there’s no intent of being majestic. Lindou’s interest stands in captivating the mind of his audience, not just their view.
Face à l’eau is a permanent work of art produced for the second edition of the SUD-Salon Urbain de Douala. The work consists of the manipulation of old tires and waste materials. Lindou used a series of five vertical panels made of wood, metal and colored plastic. In particular, the highest panels reach almost four meters in height and are arranged in a way that gives the impression of being a single screen.
Lindou uses natural pigments and the finest lines to represent the uniqueness of human beings. By portraying his figures in their loneliness, in their fear or inner thoughts, he inspires an uncommon profoundness. In spite of their malleability, the figures emerge, showing with their bodies the desperate resistance of their souls.
“Through the texture and form of my figures, I allow strength, fragility, beauty and ugliness to emerge from their narcissistic bodies, expressing the bitterness and gentleness of their traits as well as the infinite resistance with which they confront the violence of existence.”
Salifou Lindou’s art is far from any calculation. In choosing to portray the secret of life, he employs freedom as a principal tool. In addition, his characters become something other than just random people. They become icons, immutable stigmas in which we can all see ourselves.
The overlapping lines reflect the ambiguity and the complexity of life itself. Like in a labyrinth where each step is a win or a loss, human life revolves around daily. Through a remarkable mastery in drawing, the Cameroonian artist shows empathy in the clearest way possible. The multitude of our differences collapses, and all that remains is the silk thread that unifies all humans as one.
Visit artist’s gallery on RDN Arts: Salifou Lindou