Africa: Trash Bag of the Western World

  • Installation view at Aichi Triennale 2019
    Africa: Trash Bag of the Western World, 2019
    Photo: Ito Tetsuo

Located inside Shirakawa Park, the Nagoya City Art Museum is girdled by garden paths. Along these paths and in the sunken garden that can be entered from the museum's basement, a total of about forty garbage bins have been newly installed by this artist. Printed with the national flags of 54 African countries, the bags in these garbage bins look much more colorful than the garbage bags we know from everyday life.
Toguo is an artist from Cameroon who has been engaging in creative work against a backdrop that is mainly defined by the relationships between Africa and the West. When reflecting on the position of African countries and the various things the colonizing nations have been forcing on them in the course of history since the colonial days, the visitor realizes how these garbage bags fulfill at once a symbolic function.
The garbage collected at the exhibition venue will not be taken directly to Africa, but as long as the idea prevails that everything is fine if we take "bothersome things" far away and out of sight, we will never be able to work out fundamental solutions to the myriad problems the world is drowning in.

Barthélémy TOGUO

  • Born 1967 in Mbalmayo, Cameroon
  • Based in Bandjoun, Cameroon and France, Paris

Barthélémy Toguo, whose work encompasses watercolor, wood sculpture, installation, photography, video, performance, and other media, takes a strong interest in the relationship between African countries and their former colonies, as well as the flow of immigrants and merchandise between them. His project The New World Climax is centered around large sculpted wooden seals inspired by immigration passport stamps. The outdoor installation Welcome involved chairs of varying sizes placed in a clearing along a forest trail leading to a waterfall--a thoughtful gesture by the artist offering immigrants and travelers somewhere to sit and rest. In 2008, Toguo founded Bandjoun Station, an art center located in Bandjoun, Cameroon that offers residencies to artists; he continues to manage its operations.

Selected Works & Awards

2018 Paradise Is Now Palm Trees in Art, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin, Germany
2017 A world view: The Tim Fairfax Gift, The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
2016 Deluge, Carré Saint Anne, Montpellier, France
2015 56th Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy
2014 An Afropolitan View, Uppsala Art Museum, Uppsala, Sweden


Nagoya City Art Museum


2-17-25, Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya 460-0008 JAPAN


Admission until
30 minutes
before closing


Mondays (Except for National Holidays), Sep.17[Tue]


・8 minutes on foot from Fushimi Station on the Higashiyama Line or Tsurumai Line
・7 minutes on foot from Osu Kannon Station on the Tsurumai Line
・10 minutes on foot from Yabasho Station on the Meijo Line