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Contemporary Cameroonian art

Investing in new artistic successes

Moustapha Baidi Oumarou, L’hiver bleu, 180x120cm

The international success of many artists and curators from the African diaspora has led to a considerable amount of investments by founding art projects on the African continent. Cameroonian diaspora are not an exception, as we see art  institutions like the RAW Material Company (Senegal), founded by Koyo Kouoh (laurete of the Prix Meret Oppenheim 2020) in 2008, and SAVVY Contemporary (Berlin) founded by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (awardee of the Order of Merit of Berlin 2020) in 2010. Most centres were born in Cameroon, however. These include the Bandjoun Art Station, which was founded by artists Barthelemy Toguo and Germain Noubi in 2007, the Artbakery founded by Goddy Leye (d. 2011) in 2004 and the Doual’art Centre for Contemporary Art, founded in 1991 by Marilyn Douala Bell and Didier Schaub.

The projects initiated by the African diaspora gave rise to the success of other African artists and to various art projects which include the RAVY Biennale- Rencontres d’arts visuels  de Yaounde 1st edition in 2008, with Perform’Action Live Artas well as the triennial –SUD – the Urban Salon of Doula’.

‘Les Dance Des Esprit Du Rocher 2021’ by Dieudonne Fokou. Image: the artist.
Jean David Nkot, PO.BOX THE HOPE OF THE SOUL, 2021, Acrylic, posca, collage and silkscreen printing on canvas, 200 x 300 cm Courtesy: AFIKARIS

Salifou Lindou, La Lectrice, 2020 Pastel on paper, 130 x 150 cm Courtesy: AFIKARIS

What we also see is this family system where successful international Cameroonian artists bring in young artists to share their studio space where they too, in turn, build their own reputation whilst being mentored by mentors like Marc Padeu, Jean David Knot, Boris Nzebo, Boris Anje, and Ajarb Bernard Ategwa.

Other Cameroonian artists include Moustapha Baidi Oumarou, Salifou Lindou, Maurice Pefura, Yvon Ngassam, Joel Mpah Dooh, Justine Gaga, Ange Kayifa, Em’Kaleyongakpa, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Samuel Dallé, Romeo Temwa, Dieudonné Fokou, Hako Hanson, Christian Etongo and Samuel Fosso. Although most of their studios, as well as  art galleries,  are based in Yaounde or Doula, they are still linked to the rural spaces through family ties.

Galleries in Doula include Galerie MAM, Doual’art, the Wemah art project, Bolo L’Espace, Annie Art Gallery, and In and off Art Centre, whilst the Cameroon National Museum and the Contemporary Art Gallery are situated in Yaoundé. The Institut de Formation Artistique (IFA) is located in Mbalmayo, the Bandjoun Station is situated in Dschang.

Marc Padeau’s exhibition at Jack Bell Gallery in London may have just ended, but can still be seen at Peres Projects in Berlin until 30th July 2021. Jean David Knot has two running exhibitions at present. If viewers find themselves in Paris until July 7th, they will be in time to view his exhibition Human Condition at Afikaris; also running at the same time until July 31st is his exhibition, Below the Cards, at the Bolo L’Espace in Douala, Cameroon. His work is also on show at the AKAA fair and at Untitled Miami in November. Salifou Lindou will be showing his work at Art Paris in September and at 1:54 London in October, whilst later exhibiting at Afikaris in Paris in February 2022. Dieudonné Fokou has an exhibition planned at Africrea in Yoaunde  from 11th September to October 9th. Ajarb Bernard Ategwa’s show at  Afikaris will take place from 4th September until 12th October 2021, followed by Moustapha Baidi Oumarou ‘s show at Afikaris as well as at the Artissima, the AKAA Paris and at Untitled Miami in November.  If audiences are unable to visit any of these shows in person, they can still visit the virtual Kampala Biennale 2020 online, with Cameroonian Maurice Pefura as one of the participating artists.

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