Bandjoun Station Museum Cameroon
Bandjoun Station Museum Cameroon of African Art is located in the midst of Bamiléké country, where my parents were born. Approximately 270kms from Douala and Yaoundé − near the town of Bafoussam − the space rests on the high plateaus of West Cameroon, at an altitude of about 1500m. Vegetation is lush there, and agriculture particularly well developed. Another one of its traits is the fact that the region has preserved its traditions, noticeably its artistic traditions; the masks, for example, are still very present. I will add here that Bandjoun is one of the very big chiefdoms of the Bamiléké ethnic group.
Bandjoun Station Museum Cameroon of African Art is composed of two very distinct buildings: the triple storey, 25m-high Art Centre; and a workshop accommodation block destined for hosting up to twelve resident artists, tasked to develop their creative projects on site in unity with the local population. As for the Art Centre, it is divided into five spaces, each measuring 120 square meters. The basement caters for meetings and projections, with a reading room on the ground floor. The upper floors are for the purpose of hosting temporary exhibitions of African Art, and the last floor is reserved for the exhibition of a series of oeuvres, born of my exchanges with artists from around the world, as well as collectors and gallery owners. All these buildings are supported by armed concrete pillars and the entire structure is topped with a 10-meter-high gable, covered by a double-pyramid roof structure. This design respects the centuries-old particularities of the local, traditional architecture with its tapering roofs. In order to avoid rainwater infiltrations, the walls are covered with mosaics that are enhanced by emblems and symbols taken from my artistic universe. For me, Bandjoun Station provides an opening to the ideal world. To allow Nietzche’s words, as quoted by Albert Camus: ‘ne régnera plus le juge, mais le créateur, qu’il soit travailleur ou intellectuel’ (the judge will not rule anymore but the creator will, be he a worker or an intellectual). This is why it is also open to poets, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, singers, and dancers, not forgetting researchers. We must avoid at all cost any form of ghettoization. This is a cultural centre, open to curious, young visitors and art amateurs, without distinction of race or nationality.