Hélène Amouzou: Voyages

22 Sep 2023 - 20 Jan 2024

Past exhibition
Curated by Bindi Vora

Contemplating the complex emotions of displacement and exile


Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA, UK

past exhibition

This exhibition is now closed. View our current exhibitions here


This is the first UK solo exhibition of Hélène Amouzou's evocative self-portraits. These hand printed photographs are a crucial document of a migrant who has grappled with notions of freedom, exclusion, and bureaucracy – an attempt to recapture her identity and sense of belonging. Voyages raises important questions: What does it mean to seek refuge? What does belonging feel like?  What does it mean to live in limbo? What burden does the body carry as a result? The Togolese-born, Belgium-based artist’s distinctive imagery is created through long exposures, contemplating the complex emotions of displacement and exile.

"Self-portraiture is a way of writing without words. My aim is to reveal the deepest parts of myself"

— Hélène Amouzou

Voyages brings together fifteen years of Amouzou's work. Autoportrait – Molenbeek (2007-2011) was created during a period when the artist was seeking asylum in Belgium, part of her two-decade long journey seeking safety and citizenship. In these charged portraits, she appears as an apparition amongst suitcases and the peeling floral wallpaper of a destitute attic: sitting, contemplating, standing, longing. Suitcases appear throughout Amouzou’s images, a reminder of the precarious situation that hundreds of thousands of people who have, like herself, been forced into movement across the globe due to political dissonance.

These works are shown alongside Amouzou’s most recent work Entre temps, Togo (2020-2021), translating to in the meantime, capturing the artist’s first journey back to her homeland in more than a quarter century.

Throughout Voyages, Amouzou’s elongated movements and extended exposures confront a sense of belonging and unbelonging, locating and dislocating – and a refusal of erasure.



Gallery 2

From the series Autoportrait, Molenbeek

From the series Autoportrait, Molenbeek

From the series Autoportrait, Molenbeek


Art, Rights & Resistance

Sat 28 Oct, 1-5pm
How can art change the conversation about migration and those who seek refuge?

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Teaching Portraiture

Thu 5 Oct, 6.30 - 8pm
We warmly invite teachers and educators to join us for a session centred around teaching portraiture

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Artist-Led Exhibition Tour

Fri 22 Sep, 6 - 7pm
Join the artist Hélène Amouzou for a tour of her new exhibition, Voyages

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Exhibition Opening

Thu 21 Sep, 6 - 8pm
Join us for the launch of two new exhibitions at Autograph's gallery this autumn

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Exhibition Tours for Schools

Multiple dates, Oct - Jan
Bring your class to Autograph for a free guided tour of our exhibitions

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Writing Without Words

Professor Mark Sealy on the spectral self-portraits of Hélène Amouzou

Read blog post | 4 min read

VR Visit

Take a virtual tour of highlights from the exhibition

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Into the Light

Broadcaster Bidisha Mamata reflects on issues of displacement and exile in the distinctive imagery of Hélène Amouzou

Read blog post | 10 min read

Reflections on the Self

The artist discusses her deeply personal work within the context of migration, perseverance and the politics of (in)visibility

Read blog post | 10 min read

Migrant Plights and Rights

Considering how we can use creativity to facilitate attitudinal changes towards migrants, asylum seekers and refugees

Read blog post | 5 min read

call for photographs

Becoming Visible

Who gets visibility in the public realm? What gets forgotten or rendered (in)visible? How can photographs refuse erasure and act as documents which anchor a subject in a time and place? Share your photos and join the conversation.

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about the artist


Hélène Amouzou

Hélène Amouzou (b.1969, Togo) has become widely known for her distinctive autoportraits that explore contemporary issues of people in exile and those that have been invisibilised. Drawing on experiences of migration, borders and displacement, her highly technical analogue processes are integral to her research and artistic experiments.

In 2014 she completed her studies in photography at the Sint-Jans-Molenbeek Academy of Drawing and Visual arts in Brussels. Amouzou’s works have been shown internationally including solo exhibitions at CONTACT Photography Festival, Toronto (2023), Centre Cultural Jacques Franck, Brussels (2022); The Women’s Darkroom Gallery New York (2022); FoMU, Antwerp (2021), Maison des Cultures de Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Brussels (2009) amongst others; and within group exhibitions including at Photo Ireland (2023); FotoFest Biennale, Houston (2020/2022); S.M.A.K, Gent (2022); Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles (2021); Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn (2018); Musée du Quai Branly, Paris (2011); Hayward Gallery, London (2011) amongst others. Her works are part of collections including the Brooklyn Museum (USA), March Gallery (USA), S.M.A.K (Belgium), SMART (Belgium) and the Tropenmuseum (Netherlands). She lives and works in Belgium.

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also at Autograph

Armet Francis: Beyond the Black Triangle

22 Sep 2023 - 20 Jan 2024
Chronicling the lives of people of the African diaspora for over 40 years

Read more

supported by

Banner image: Hélène Amouzou, from the series Autoportrait, Molenbeek, 2007-2011. © and courtesy the artist.

Exhibition preview: 1) Hélène Amouzou: Voyages exhibition at Autograph. 22 September 2023 - 20 January 2024. Curated by Bindi Vora. Photograph by Kate Elliott. 2-4) Hélène Amouzou, from the series Autoportrait, Molenbeek, 2007-2011. © and courtesy the artist.

Images on page: 1) Hélène Amouzou. © Chrystel Mukeba. 2) Armet Francis, Untitled [detail] from the series Lambeth and Brixton Tube Series, London, UK, 1994. Courtesy the artist.