MESSOU ezekiel

1971 . benin

Unsuccessful at school, at the age of sixteen Ezekiel Messou fled an authoritarian father and moved to Nigeria. From 1990 to 1995 he lived in Lagos, where he learned to repair sewing machines. As he says, “there are too many fishermen, tailors or masons on the lake, whereas no one can do this job …” Today, he lives with two women and his ten children and has his own sewing machine repair workshop in a small town in southern Benin. In his back room, out of sight, he fills school notebooks and A4 sheets listing models of sewing machines. His first drawings adopted the rigid style of technical diagrams; today Messou allows his hand to transform his machines ┬áin shapes evoking a bestiary with plant curves. Once the drawing is completed he signs Mr. Ezekiel and affixes the stamp of his establishment in red or blue ink: “Ets who knows the future * Sewing Machine Repair * The Machinist.” This stamp certifies, for him, that he is the author of the work, a kind of copyright: “nobody can steal my drawings.”