Hervé YoumbiHerve_Youmbi_Albums/Herve_Youmbi_Albums.htmlHerve_Youmbi_Albums/Herve_Youmbi_Albums.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0

Born in the Central African Republic in 1973 and raised in neighboring Cameroon, Hervé Youmbi discovered art as a child. First he fell in love with drawing, then, in short order, painting and sculpture.

As a teenager, he began taking formal art classes. From 1993 to 1996, he studies at IFA (Institut de Formation Artistique), in the town of Mbalmayo, Cameroon’s only dedicated art school at the time.

At IFA, Youmbi took art theory. This leads to an interest in installation art, which he pursued, through both practice and research, at ESAD (Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg) in France, where he spent one year (2000-2001). While in France, he produces his first work in a medium that has since become central to his practice: video.

Since his earliest days at IFA, and in all of the media in which he has worked, portraiture has played a pivotal role in Youmbi’s oeuvre. Focusing on the human body as an expression of everyday experience in the postcolonial city, Youmbi asks fundamental questions about the urban experience generally speaking, about the cities he inhabits, about cities he passes through and others he dreams of knowing: places that are both the subject and the medium - the raw materials - of his practice.

Hervé Youmbi is a founding member of Cercle Kapsiki, a collective of five Cameroonian visual artists established in 1998. The K factory, the collective’s home, based in New Bell, one of the poorest but also one of the most dynamic districts of Douala, is a flexible space, experimental and open to a wide range of collaborations. There, the collective shares its passion for the arts with city dwellers who otherwise have little access to such things. The K factory is also a laboratory for artists from different disciplines. It welcomes young creators interested in developing experimental forms of expression, as part of a residency program in which they work with established practitioners. Via this initiative, K Factory seeks to effect radical change in a country whose government shows no interest in arts education.

Education and Training

2000 – 2001  Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ESAD) Strasbourg / France.

1993 – 1996   Institut de Formation Artistique (IFA), Mbalmayo / Cameroun


2012  Recipient of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship," Washington D.C. / USA.

2009  Winner of “Visas pour la création” a program of Culturesfrance program of Afrique et Caraïbe en création.


Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada

Newark Museum, New Jersey, USA

Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., USA

LWL Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Münster, Germany

Yasmine and Peter König collection, Germany

Future Projects

Feedback: Art, Africa and the Eighties. Iwalewahaus, University of Bayreuth, Germany, and Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College / NH. USA


Our Anthropocene: Eco Crises. Center for Book Arts, New York. January 19 - March 31, 2018


UNMASKED. Axis Gallery, New York, October 26 - November 18, 2017

"Nevralgies", curated by Simon Njami, la galerie du Manège, French Institute, Dakar Senegal.

“Les masques célestes” Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017, LWL - Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Münster, Germany. June 10- Oct 17, 2017


Visages de Masques, Doual’art, Douala / Cameroon

Visages des Masques: Dak'art Off, Dakar. Senegal

La forêt illuminée, representing Cameroon at Lumières d'Afrique: 15th festival des cinémas d’Afrique de Besançon, France

Emancipation Stories / Mémoires libérées traveling exhibition. Cameroon, Haiti, Antigua & Barbuda, Senegal, France.

Solo Shows (Selection)


Emancipation Stories / Mémoires libérées artist-in-residence program, Gorée island and Saint  Louis, Senegal, 6 to 26 November.

Lumières D'Afriques, Théâtre National de Challot, Paris France, 4-24 November, 2015

Stories tellers: "Visages de masques" Bandjoun Station (museum and contemporary art center) Bandjoun / Cameroon.


"08-08-1914 / 2014" exhibition “ça-me-dit martyrs” au Carré des artistes, Douala/ Cameroun

"In the name of the father, the son and the holy constitutional monarchy", Doual'art, Douala / Cameroon



Totems to Haunt our Dreams. Bas les masques: Art contemporain africain, Guyancourt,

Totems to Haunt Our Dreams. Axis Gallery, New York City and New Jersey, in association with SPARCK and Submergedart.



Ces totems qui hantent les rêves des fils de Mamadou

SPARCK @ Institut Français Léopold Sédar Senghor  – Dakar / Senegal

SPARCK @ Point Blank Gallery / Drill Hall – Johannesburg / South Africa

CulturesFrance & SPARCK @ Médiathèque des Diasporas – Cotonou / Benin



Rue Um Nyobé. Culturesfrance & Scu2 @ Traces Belleville – Paris / France


Les ombres enchantées. Liquid Project – Douala / Cameroun



Face 2 Face. Doual’art –Douala/ Cameroun



The Window of My Soul. Centre Culturel Français de Yaoundé – Yaounde / Cameroon


Ascèse. Agence Ascèse @ Doual’art – Douala / Cameroon


My Family Album 1. British Counsel – Douala and Yaounde / Cameroon



N° 1234. Doual’art – Douala / Cameroon



2006080700. Doual’art – Douala / Cameroon



Visages de chaises. Alliance Française de Dschang – Dschang / Cameroon



Présence. IFA – Mbalmayo / Cameroon



My Own Dream. Antoine François ASSOUMOU Foundation – Yaounde / Cameroon


Group Shows (Selection)


La forêt illuminée, representing Cameroon at Lumières d'Afrique: 15th festival des cinémas d’Afrique de Besançon,

African Artists for Development Fondation, Paris. 7-15 November 2015

1:54, London, Axis Gallery

Didier Schaub  as seen by artists. Tribute to Didier Schaub, Espace Doual'art, Douala / Cameroon


RAVY : Rencontre des arts visuels de Yaounde. Yaounde/ Cameroon


Cameroonian heroes,SUD Salon Urbain de Douala, Doual’art Douala/ Cameroon

MCV2 Art Bakery international exhibition, Doual’art, Douala / Cameroon


Dak’art: Biennale de l’art Africain contemporain, Dakar / Senegal


Bas les masques. Les Am’arts en Seine,  Guyancourt, France

Imag(IN)ing cities. Sparck @ Amin Gulgee Gallery, Karachi, Parkistan


La pirogue céleste, SUD 2010. Doual’art, Douala/ Cameroon


Focus 9 Africa. Scu2 @ Volsta Hall – Basel / Switzerland


Une vision contemporaine, acte 2. World Bank – Yaounde / Cameroon



World One Minute Video and Literature. Beijing / China

Ornementation et abstraction dans la peinture bamoun. National Museum of Cameroon – Yaounde / Cameroon

Africa Now. World Bank – Washington, DC / USA



Un certain regard. Cannes Festival – Cannes / France



Dans JEUX il y a JE et EUX. Cercle Kapsiki @ MTN Foundation, Galerie Mam – Douala / Cameroon

Cent livres-objet pour Senghor. Atelier résidence –Toubab Dialaw and Ngaparou / Senegal

Cameroun:  une vision contemporaine. World Bank, Yaounde – Yaounde / Cameroon

Salon International de Zurich. Galerie Koussam – Zurich / Switzerland

Mygale Bleue. Galerie Koussam – Cannes / France



Ars & URBIS. Doual’Art – Douala / Cameroon



The Last Pictures Show. Cercle Municipal – Douala / Cameroon

El Boustashy

EL MAX – Alexandria / Egypt



Scénographies Urbaines, Galerie Mam, Douala / Cameroon

La rue congolaise. Atelier résidence – Brazzaville / Congo

Preveti. MSF and WHO – Geneva / Switzerland

Cameroonian touch. Doual’art – Douala / Cameroon



Le 213ème Salon. Espace Auteuil – Paris / France 

Group show. National Museum of Cameroon – Yaounde / Cameroon

OFF. 5th edition of the Dakar Biennale – Dakar / Senegal

Right 2 Fight. Sarah Lawrence College – Bronxville, New York  / USA

Intérieur extérieur. Cercle Kapsiki @ Goethe Institute, Yaounde / Cameroon

De Douala à Berlin. 2 Y K Galerie Kunst Fabrik – Berlin / Germany



La Bourse aux odeurs. Cercle Kapsiki @ Galerie Syndicat Potentiel – Strasbourg /France

Cabines de Relookage. Cercle Kapsiki @ Selestat Biennale – Selestat / France

Cercle Kapsiki group show. Galerie Ames d’Afrique – Strasbourg / France



Travel Time. Cercle Kapsiki @ Galerie MAM – Douala / Cameroon



Hors les murs. Boulevard de la Liberté – Douala / Cameroon



Cameroon Art. Galeria Artémondo – Saronno / Italy


Iconoclas Master. Goethe Institut – Yaounde / Cameroon



Festival National des Arts et de la culture – Douala / Cameroon





El Boutashy (Scénographies urbaines). Gudran, Scur &°K and Cercle Kapsiki – Alexandria, Egypt


2002 – 2003

Scénographies Urbaines. Cercle Kapsiki an Org. Kapsiki Circle and Scur &°K – Douala / Cameroon



Noirs Tout Couleurs Festival de cinéma et art visuel – Pointe-À-Pitre / Guadeloupe


Gilgamesh. Staged by Barbara Bouley, Théatre Gérald Philippe – St Denis, Paris / France



Ekhaya. Staged by Barbara Bouley / Eyala Pena – Bonandale, Douala and Yaounde / Cameroon ; Mantes-la-Jolie (@ Collectif 12), Aubervilliers (@ Laboratories) and Loos en Gohelle (@ Culture Commune) / France


2000 – 1999

Eyala Pena – Bonendale and Douala / Cameroon


Publications & Talks


With D. Malaquais on “Totems to Haunt our Dreams” at the Smithsonian National Museum for African Art, Washington D.C. May 3, 2011.



Dominique Malaquais, Hervé Youmbi, Paris:  Editions de l’œil.




Skulptur Projekte Münster, 2017


Dominique Malaquais, Playing (in) the Marketfield:

Hervé Youmbi and the Art World Maze. Cahiers d'études africaines. 2016/3 (N° 223) p 364.

Silvia Forni. Masks on the Move: Defying Genres, Styles, and Traditions in the Cameroonian Grassfields

African Arts Summer 2016, Vol. 49, No. 2: 38–53.


“Stories tellers” Catalog of exhibition at Bandjoun station, Bandjoun/ Cameroun.


"Arts et cultures d'Afrique. Vers une anthropologie solidaire" Under the direction of Myrian-Odile Blin.

Edition Press Universitaire de Rouen et du Havre (PURH), Rouen/ France

“CAMEROUN Une vision contemporaine 4”. World bank ; Yaoundé/ Cameroun


“Into the vortex” By Dominique Malaquais  in ART SOUTH AFRICA magazine pages 54-59. RSA


“Dak’art 2012”. Catalogue de la 10ème édition Dakar/ Sénégal


Dominique Malaquais, “Racial France, Take II :  Hervé Youmbi”, Public Culture 23.

Dominique Malaquais, “Masques rebelles: Hervé Yamguen, Hervé Youmbi”, in M.O. Blin, ed., Vers une anthropologie solidaire, Paris, France:  L’Harmattan.



Regard Bénin, Cotonou, Benin:  Ministry of Culture.



Une vision contemporaine, acte 2, Yaounde, Cemroon:  World Bank.



World One Minute Video and Literature, Rotterdam, Holland:  Lucette ter Borg.


Lionel Manga, L’ivresse du papillon » Lionel Manga, Chamonix, France :  Editions Edimontagne.



Art Aborigène, Art contemporain d’Afrique, catalogue of an auction held at the Dosne-Thiers Foundation, Paris, France:   Gaїa.


Un certain regard, Cannes, France:  Galerie Koussam.



Mygale bleue. Cannes, France:  Galerie Koussam.


8ème Salon international de Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Cameroun, une vision contemporaine, Yaounde, Cameroon:  World Bank.


Dans jeux il y a je et eux, Douala, Cameroon:  Fondation MTN.


Nicolas Bissek, Couleurs et toiles, Paris, France:  Karthala.



Art convention, Douala, Cameroon:  Bonaprison Centre for the Arts.


Eté 72, Le Mans, France:  Centre Culturel de la Sarthe.



The Last Pictures Show, Douala, Cameroon:  Gondwana.



Ngone Fall et al., Anthologie de l’art africain du 20ème siècle, Paris, France:   Editions Revue Noire.



Nicolas Bissek, Les peintres de l’estuaire, Paris, France:  Karthala.


Residencies (Selection)


Emancipation Stories / Mémoires libérées artist-in-residence program, Gorée island and Saint. Louis, Senegal 6 to 26 November, in preparation for the traveling exhibition scheduled for May 2016.

Bandjoun Station, Residency for the creation of the installation Visages de masques. Bandjoun / Cameroon


Bakassi peninsul’art, International workshop of artists from Nigeria and Cameroon in the fishing villages  of Limbé, Tiko and Edinao / Cameroon


Master Class video 2, Art Bakery, Bonendale, Douala / Cameroon


Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Hirshhom Museum and National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC / USA



Bag Factory, Johannesburg / South Africa



 IAAB – Basel / Switzerland

SPARCK – Douala / Cameroon, Dakar / Senegal, Johannesburg / South Africa



Cité Internationale des Arts – Paris / France



ArtBakery – Bonendale / Cameroon



Village de sable – Touba Dialaw / Senegal



El Max – Alexandria / Egypte


2002 – 2003

New-Bell – Douala / Cameroon



Alliance Française de Dschang – Dschang / Cameroon


Hervé Youmbi

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