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Simon Njami

(b Yaoundé, 1967).

Cameroonian sculptor, draughtsman, and installation artist. Self-taught, his work gained international recognition in the 1990s, when he exhibited in Belgium, Germany, and Japan. Honours include his selection for the 1994 Biennale of Kwangu, South Korea, a solo exhibit at the 1996 Dakar Biennale des Artes, his selection for the 1998 Johannesburg Biennale and the 2000 Lyon Biennale. He uses discarded materials to comment on the conditions of the world, devoting his work of the late 1990s to the topic of AIDS. In conjuction with the Doual’Art Association, he collaborated with several AIDS patients to express their experiences. These emotional works often include razor blades, syringes, condoms, and nails to evoke themes of death and issues of the body. His installations also incorporated linear drawings that convey a frantic dynamism and depict a chaotic world. For Tayou, art is part of everyday life, not a separate institution, and his methods and materials emphasize his commitment to the world around him. He claims not to be an artist in order to address the artificial separation between artists and other people. Through his work he aims to reveal what people are always trying to hide....