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Press release

Barthélémy Toguo designated UNESCO Artist for Peace


The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, designated Cameroonian artist Barthélémy Toguo as UNESCO Artist for Peace. The ceremony took place during the exhibition "Desir d'humanité", presented in the Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière Gallery at the Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac Museum.

Barthélémy Toguo's artistic journey has overcome borders and influences. Whether through watercolor or drawing, video or performance, he has left no subject untouched and his works resonate as powerful appeals to our consciences. His aesthetic commitment is coupled with a social commitment to artists and to Africa. One could not better define the role of an artist for peace.

Audrey Azoulay, Directrice générale de l'UNESCO

As a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Barthélémy Toguo joins the family of artists committed to bringing cultures together and supporting artistic creation, such as Amine Kouider, Valery Gergiev and Scott Momaday. UNESCO artists for peace and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors put their fame and talents at the service of UNESCO's action. Through their creativity, their initiatives and their influence, they bring the values and ideals of the organization to the widest and most diverse audience possible.

A multidisciplinary artist, Barthélémy Toguo uses drawing, watercolor, painting, sculpture, photography, installation and performance to question our humanity. Through his creations at the crossroads of cultures, he explores the dysfunctions of the world in order to better denounce them and questions the status of foreigners, migrants, immigrants and the difficulty for them to build an identity.

Barthélémy Toguo is at the origin of the cultural project Bandjoun Station, an art center located in Cameroon. Founded in 2008 to encourage contemporary art and creation, it now includes an exhibition space, a library, an artists' residence and an organic farm.

In 2015, he was made a Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters. The following year, he was shortlisted for the Marcel Duchamp Prize, France's most publicized art award, and was made a Knight of the National Order of Valor of the Republic of Cameroon. In 2018, he presented his first solo exhibition, "The Beauty of Our Voice" at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York. He has since exhibited in major museums around the world. 

Photos of the ceremony at the Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac Museum : link here

Press contact: Thomas Mallard, t.mallard@unesco.org, +33 1 45 68 22 93