b 1971 (Benin)
Born in Benin in 1971, EZEKIEL MESSOU learnt how to repair sewing machines after leaving his home country for Lagos, Nigeria, as a young man. Today, working from the back room of his own sewing machine repair shop in Abomey-Calavi, Benin, MESSOU creates intricate drawings cataloguing hundreds of sewing machine models, which have earned him a place in international collections of alternative art-makers.
Working with pen and pencil on notebooks, MESSOU’s works have evolved from simple, technical drawings into elaborate illustrations characterised by flowing contours and ornate patterns that evoke botanical motifs, in an organic rendition of the machines’ inner workings.
Part diagram, part invention, each picture is completed with a stamp and declaration of authorship: Ets qui sait l'Avenir * Réparation des Machines à Coudre * Le Machinistre (Who Knows the Future * Sewing Machine Repair * The Machinister).
EZEKIEL MESSOU's notebooks are held in important European collections, including the Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne.