« Kwata Saloon » is an impression of the places of everyday existence in Douala where artist Ajarb Bernard Ategwa observes a novel experience. Presented at the Afikaris Gallery in Paris until September 28, 2021 through a series of works, Ajarb Bernard Ategwa moors in the beauty salons that swirl around his country.

He dives into the heart of these places and glimpses scenes where proximity and sociability are mixed, and highlights the concomitance of social and intergenerational links in his works.

By displaying different ages, genders and strata of society, artist Ajarb Bernard Ategwa emphasizes the community dimension and highlights the links between people maintained by hairstyles. By focusing on these places, he bears witness to a time when prosperity and sharing were central to public activity.

The exhibition « Kwata Saloon » exalts the appeal and magnificence of those Ajarb Bernard Ategwa paints, the ladies in particular. Their presence transmutes the canvas which offers brilliant tones, sometimes decorated with lines.

Ajarb-Bernard-Atwega-A-family-something-2021.-Acrylic-on-canvas.-200-x-199-cm.-Courtesy-of-AFIKARIS-Gallery « Kwata Saloon » a solo exhibition of the artist Ajarb Bernard Ategwa at the Afikaris Gallery in Paris
Ajarb Bernard Atwega, A family something 2021. Acrylic on canvas. 200 x 199 cm. Courtesy of AFIKARIS Gallery

Ajarb Bernard Ategwa proposes a space where daily existence is often marked by heat and anxiety, he makes visitors discover that these ephemeral beauty salons bring another dynamic and captures through his paintings the turmoil of a festive snapshot, a particular part of daily life touched with delicacy.

The clear shadows that escape from these brushes pay tribute to the pop aesthetic and reflect the brightness of the youth of all regions of the country in search of a transcendent life. The chromatic range, infused with individual imagery, reflects this multiplicity and a strong identity of its own.

While his large canvases capture a snapshot of sharing and freeze development, his singular, closely contoured representations reverberate with selfies shared on the web. The general taste reflects media society, as well as finding its foundations in studio photography.

Ajarb-Bernard-Ategwa-Early-Morning-Selfies-2021.-80-x-80-cm.-Courtesy-of-AFIKARIS-Gallery « Kwata Saloon » a solo exhibition of the artist Ajarb Bernard Ategwa at the Afikaris Gallery in Paris
Ajarb Bernard Ategwa, Early Morning Selfies, 2021. 80 x 80 cm. Courtesy of AFIKARIS Gallery

The posture of these models, whose hand position emphasizes the face, recalls the trademark shots of the Malian Seydou Keïta. The generally shaded bases are here rendered monochrome. An immediate contact is established between the visitor and the work, a simple point of solitary convergence. As if Ajarb Bernard Ategwa welcomes a reflection on appearance and self-assertion.

If his characters are anonymous and reduced to a bouquet of differentiated colors, their embellishments and diverse appearances anchor them in a setting with neighboring and global impacts. As if they were participating in the elaboration of the chronicles of the daily life of his time.

Through his exhibition « Kwata Saloon », Ajarb Bernard Ategwa invites each visitor to consider with all the more attention a vaporous daily reality, thus scrutinizing the link between the individual, the political and the social.

A lire aussi :  « Figures of Speech » a first museum exhibition dedicated to the work of artist and designer Virgil Abloh at ICA Boston.

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