Born in Togo in 1969, Hélène Amouzou set off on the path of exile at just 23 years old, a choice not her own. She went by way of Germany where her daughter was born, before arriving in Belgium in October 1997. There began a life of struggle, until she obtained a resident’s permit in 2009.
Starting in 2004, Hélène Amouzou followed video and photography classes at the Académie de Dessin et des Arts Visuels in Molenbeek-St-Jean (Brussels), where she lived for several years. If initially she felt uncomfortable with self-portraiture, she gradually came back to it two years later. Since then, the artist has been using the camera to devote herself to this exploration of the self.
Self-portraiture allows Hélène Amouzou to settle, to find her place, to make her mark on her environment. For her first photographs in black and white, she exploited the nooks and crannies of her attic. She appears as a shadow in the scene, a trace on the photo due to the long exposure she uses. She continues to explore introspection and aesthetics in the house where she now lives in Liege. Certain elements remain - the relationship with the body, the capture of a state of mind - others change. The suitcase that accompanied her in exile has been replaced by jewellery, fabrics, family souvenirs that she now brings back from trips to Togo.
The works of Hélène Amouzou feature in the collections of SMART (Brussels) and the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam). They have also been shown on several occasions in collective exhibitions : during the Some Things Hidden at the Framer Framed (Amsterdam) in 2018, or in 2014 for the Where We’re At! Other Voices on Gender at the BOZAR in Brussels. Hélène Amouzou has also had her own exhibition at the Jacques Franck Cultural Centre (Brussels) in 2017 - Sous les toits, un grenier a soi. A monograph entitled Entre le Papier peint et le mur was published in 2010 (Husson Éditeur, Brussels).