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Hélène jayet 31 project

Born in 1977 in France, lives and works in Montpellier, France.

French visual artist and photographer from Mali, Hélène Jayet began her artistic education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier, then trained in graphic design, photography and photojournalism in Paris. She has been making portraits and reports for the press for the past ten years. In addition to her artistic work, Hélène Jayet teaches photography and visual arts in school and university workshops, and recently at the art and image department of the Kourtrajmé school.


Her first investigation, Chin-up - colored only!, is a counterpoint to that of Casimir Zagoursky who, at the beginning of the century, photographed the richness of the indigenous hairstyles of Africa, immortalizing them in his numerous travel diaries. In contrast to Zagoursky’s voyeuristic approach, Hélène Jayet proposes an approach that is similar to a performance. Her project includes both the photographic act and the deployment of the photographic studio, the discussion with her subjects, always Afro-descendants, and the proposal, as a whole, to raise one’s head proudly (chin-up!).


First exhibited in 2013, the Chin-up - colored only! series continues to grow and offers Afro-descendants a space to take control of their image. It plunges us into an African iconographic history that colonisation has transformed into a series of acts of predation, and proposes a way out... By raising the chin-up!


Since this work, the artist has returned to drawing and developed a new style. Starting with images gleaned from historical works, photographs or the canvas, Hélène Jayet reinterprets, blackening her Canson, point by point, until the original image is blurred, forcing us to step back. An extension of her photographs, this practice transforms the pixels of the prints into a series of ink stains, which sometimes densely populate her sheets, and recreate imaginary landscapes. Realistic or abstract, these drawings are intimate.


The artist’s photographs have been exhibited at the La Gacilly festival, the Fondation Zinsou in Benin, the Rencontres photographiques de Guyane, the Bamako and Dakar biennials, as well as at the Macaal in Marrakech, the BOZAR museum in Brussels and the Afrikan Museum in the Netherlands.


In 2022, the artist participated in a residency on the island of Gorée, supported by the French Institute in Senegal, which ended with a solo exhibition presenting a new body of work around the botanical history of the island and the ecological question in Senegal. The same year, Hélène Jayet takes part in the second edition of the Biennale du Congo in Kinshasa. 

Oeuves Helene Jayet
CV Helene jayet


SOLO SHOWS | Sélection


Echo Système(s), Institut français du Sénégal, Biennale de Dakar OFF – SN


On (H)air, Africa 2020 Halle Tropisme, Montpellier - FR

CANAL ROYAL : Echo Système(s), CRAC Occitanie, Sète - FR

Colored only - Chin Up !, Galerie Chambre claire hors les murs Université de Rennes 2, Rennes – FR


Colored only - Chin Up !, EMBRACING, Black History Month, American University, Paris - FR


Ma tribu imaginaire, résidence et exposition à la Villa Soudan, Biennale de Bamako OFF - ML

Colored only - Chin Up !, 6ème édition des Rencontres Photographiques de Guyane Sentier de Loyola, Rémire-Montjoly, et CIAP, St Laurent du Maroni, Guyane - FR


Colored only - Chin Up !, AFRICA IS NO ISLAND, Fondation Zinsou - BEN

Colored only - Chin Up !, AFROTOPIA, Rencontres de Bamako, Afrikan Museum - NL

Colored only - Chin Up !, THE POLITICS OF IMAGES, Ipatanga, FIF - BR

Colored only - Chin Up !, BRIDGE, Biennale de Dakar, Mupho,Saint-Louis - SN

Colored only - Chin Up !, AFRICA IS NO ISLAND, Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, MA

Chroniques Maliennes, « I love Africa », Festival de la Gacilly-Baden - AT


Colored only - Chin Up !, Rencontres Photographiques du Xème, Paris -FR

Colored only - Chin Up !, AFROTOPIA, Biennale de Bamako - ML

Colored only - Chin Up !, THE POLITICS OF IMAGES, Festival International de Fotografia de Belo

Chroniques Maliennes, « I love Africa », Festival de la Gacilly - FR


Adoptés, L’origine de l’histoire, Enfance et Famille d’adoption, Sisteron - FR

Colored Only, Summer of photography, Alliance Française de Bruxelles - BE


Colored Only, Espace Transit, Montpellier - FR

Adoptés, L’origine de l’histoire, Conseil Général Haute-Garonne,

Toulouse - FR

Adoptés, L’origine de l’histoire, Les Olivetains, Saint-Bertrand de

Comminges - FR



Effet de Groupe, 31 PROJECT, Paris - FR



KIAF, 31 PROJECT, Seoul – KR

ART-O-RAMA, 31 PROJECT, Marseille - FR

Fragments, 31 PROJECT x Galerie Antoine Dupin, Cancale - FR

Colored only - Chin Up !, “A coprs perdu” Cité des Arts de la Réunion

Festival Everybody, Carreau du Temple, Paris - FR


AKAA, Galerie Véronique Rieffel - FR

Canal Royal, CRAC Occitanie - FR



Galeristes, 31 PROJECT, Paris – FR

Messe pour le temps présent, variations (curated by: Charlotte Lidon), 31 PROJECT, Paris - FR


Colored Only, Biennale Africaine de Bamako « Afrotopia » Afrikan

Museum, NL

Colored Only, « The politics of images », Festival Foto International

Ipatinga - BR

Colored Only, BRIDGE Off Biennale de Dakar, Musée de la photographie de Saint-Louis - SN

Colored Only, « Africa is no Island », Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden, Marrakech - MA


Colored Only, Biennale Africaine de Bamako « Afrotopia », Musée National du Mali - Mali

Colored Only, Rencontres Photographiques du 10 eme, Paris - FR

Colored Only, « The politics of images », Festival Foto International Belo Horizonte - BR


Colored Only, Embodied Spaces, Gallery Framer Framed, Amsterdam – NL


Colored Only, La parole aux femmes, Fondation Blachère, Apt - FR

Colored Only, « Where we’re at - others voices of gender », Summer of photography BOZAR Brussels - BE

Colored Only, Festival ÉMOI photographique d’Angoulême - FR


Chroniques maliennes, Distant Horizons, Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff, - UK


Nous Somme(s) Transphotographiques NORD[S], Tri postal Lille - FR

Colored Only, Festival Fotografia Europea Reggio Emilia - IT

Colored Only, Circulation(s), Jardins de Bagatelle, Paris - FR


Chroniques Maliennes, Biennale de Luang Prabang OFF,

Luang Prabang - Laos


Chroniques Maliennes, Festival international du Scoop et du journalisme, Angers – FR



Institut français du Sénégal, Centre socio-culturel Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye Maison Saint-Jean, Île de Gorée – SN


Résidence Ifitry dans le cadre de la biennale de Casablanca, Essaouira, MA

Résidence Villa Soudan, Biennale off de Bamako, ML



École Image ouverte – Photographie

École Emi – Cfd, Paris – Photojournalisme

École Multimédia, Paris – Graphisme


École des Beaux-arts de Montpellier – Arts plastiques




Effet de Groupe, group show, Paris - FR



Fragments, group show, Cancale - FR


SMALL, group show

Messe pour le temps présent, variations, group show, commissariat Charlotte Lidon



KIAF, Seoul - KR

ART-O-RAMA, Marseille - FR


Galeristes, Paris - FR


Messe pour le temps présent, variations

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