Opus I - Sadikou Oukpedjo, Transition#7. Copyright Sadikou Oukpedjo. Courtesy Sadikou Oukpedjo et la Galerie Cécile Fakhoury

La clairière d’Eza Boto - Opus I «Imagine a huge clearing in our forest »


L'Orangerie - Jardin des Plantes de Rouen
114B Avenue des Martyrs de la Résistance
76100 Rouen


The first stage of Eza Boto’s clearing is an emotional interstice for everyone. It offers a transversal reading of the issues on the concepts of identities, memories and geopolitical reconfiguration of the territories of contemporary art.

"Imagine a huge clearing in our home forest, the rainforest — as explorers, geographers and journalists say. Represent yourself in the middle of the clearing (…)” This repetition, pentaptyque throughout the narrative, gives a reading of another world, that of discovery, of the need to break down boundaries and of the rejection of exoticism. This refrain raises deep questions: What is to imagine? What is desire? Two issues that artists constantly explore in the face of the evolution of contemporary societies.

The clearing is only the artistic materialization of a discursive space within which ideas, thought and the bottomless pit of issues haunting our societies are built. It is also the place of exploration of the sensitive in which uncertainty and reality reconstruct the balance of the bonds underlying our attachment to life. Artists make good use of it, as they question the survival of cultural diversities and ideas in perpetual reinventions of humanist codes on our territories.

In this Opus I of Eza Boto’s Clearing, the artists interpret various perceptions of the relationship to the other. Without taking a nihilistic look at humanity, artists act with freedom and creativity. Our imaginary is invited to live a visual experience, because it is the place of manufacture of another form of resilience in the face of our humanity’s multiple attempts to reinvent living together.

Participants:   Faycal Baghriche (Algeria), Nu Barreto (Guinee Bissau), Becky Beh (Cameroun), Jean-Michel Dissaké (Cameroun), Safaa Erruas (Maroc), Samuel Fosso (Cameroun), Gabrielle Goliath (South Africa), Goddy Leye (Cameroun), Mo Laudi (South Africa), Nyaba L. Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), Sadikou Oukpedjou (Togo), Ghizlaine Sahli (Maroc), Arlene Wandera (Kenya), Hervé Yamguen (Cameroun), Amina Zoubir (Algeria)

Curator: Yves Chatap (Cameroun), art critic

About La clairière d’Eza Boto: 
« La clairière d’Eza Boto » (Eza Boto's clearing) is considered a reflective work around the well-known book "Cruel City" by Mongo Beti aka Eza Boto, publishe in 1954.

Born in 1932 in Akométam near Yaoundé under the name of Biyidi-Awala Alexandre, Mongo Beti published the new "Sans haine et sans amour" in 1953, then "Cruel City" in 1954 under the same pseudonym of Eza Boto. He, who will use various nicknames during his career, will no longer use this pseudonym of Eza Boto. Mongo Beti’s work is linked to his exile of more than 30 years in the city of Rouen, where he worked as a French teacher. This essential author of African intellectual literature has unfortunately not found recognition in France.

The story of Mongo Beti, between chosen and imposed exile, invites everyone to consider artistic development as revolted or suffered times. Mobile and plural, this programmation includes exhibitions on several sites in Normandy and a river residency for international artists on the Seine river. Four Opus nourish this artistic reflection.

This program of meetings and exchanges between artists from different and intersecting cultures, originating from two continents will re-contextualize the journey of one of the precursors of African thought.

About YCOS-Project:
YCOS-Project aims to support artists by working alongside them in curatorial development, production and enhancement of their artistic projects. YCOS-Project intends to develop a South-South approach, and attaches major importance to ensuring that the selected projects contribute to the visibility of artistic and social changes.

Feather events

Sponsored by

  • République Française
  • Institut Français
  • Agence Française de développement
  • Conseil présidentiel pour l'Afrique