Since her first exhibition in Stockholm in 2009, Beya Gille Gacha has never ceased to share her talent and her works wherever she has the opportunity. From the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. to the Grand Palais in Paris, from the Lobozounkpa Center in Benin to the Galleria Nazionale in Rome, many places have been home to her unique creations, recognizable among all thanks to the thousands of small beads that make them up.
If the artistic imprint of Beya Gille Gacha is based on beads, the impact of the artist in the world of art is not limited to this material. Indeed, each of her creations always aims to deliver a message, to provoke awareness and to awaken minds sometimes too locked up or asleep…
ON ART MEDIA presents an exceptional young artist, winner of the Léridon Prize in 2019.
From the origin to the click
Born in 1990 in Paris, Beya Gille Gacha is a young woman of mixed race of Cameroonian origin by her mother. As a bright-minded child, her mixed race opens up several cultural horizons that feed her great curiosity. Endowed with great sensitivity, she discovered a privileged means of expression through drawing, which she began at the age of 7.
While studying at a high school of applied arts, she discovered the power of the plastic arts, which she says “brought her freedom”. More than a discovery, it is a revelation for her! The resulting artistic productions will allow her to finally give free rein to her creativity, while expressing her deepest thoughts and reflections!
It was during a trip to Cameroon, at the age of 18, that Beya Gille Gacha discovered beaded objects, a traditional technique that she learned in the workshops of the JF Gacha Foundation (an NGO created by her aunt in Bangangté). This Bamiléké tradition, an ethnic group from the west of Cameroon, consists of embroidering small beads on various objects, sculptures and small pieces of furniture, in order to demonstrate the prosperity brought to the people by the king.
Seven years after this trip, she invented her own technique because the traditional one did not allow her to reach the level of beading she was hoping for on her anthropomorphic sculptures. This is how she unveiled her first beaded sculpture in 2016. Indeed, her specialty is the human body with blue pearl skin and as she often says: “pearl of human beings, to signify the value and richness of each one”.
On the strength of this experience, she took part in Afrikanska Penslar, a group exhibition in Stockholm in 2009, and, convinced that she had found her way, the young woman took art history courses at the École du Louvre for two years. She eventually left the institution in 2014, finding the curriculum too theoretical. In the aftermath, she created the association NEFE and later the collective DES GOSSES with the artists Neals Niat and Baye Dame Cissé, which aims to express itself through the art of marginalization, difficulties encountered by young Afro-French in the world of contemporary French art as in the cinema.
His art, technique and inspiration
Beya Gille Gacha is an emerging artist, whose most famous works today are made of recycled objects, found or molded in silicone. Her various artistic creations, body parts sometimes staged, often but not always adorned with beads thanks to the technique acquired in Cameroon, are sometimes accompanied by short films or photographs that further conceptualize the subject addressed by these works.
Beya’s creative process is particular, versatile, adapting to each muse, to each idea. It always begins with an encounter. This one provokes an emotion that gives birth to the idea. And sometimes, the vibrations she feels as the project progresses can take her much further than expected! For a piece, it can touch on a wide range of areas.
In an interview, she will even state that: “The design of a piece and the number of skills required to give birth to it can sometimes be surprising“. From ironwork to aeronautics, from plumbing to medicine, the young designer draws on everything that can inspire her and never stops learning a little more each day to offer an ever more breathtaking final result.
If his Venus Nigra is covered with black beads and colored red at the ends, his other representations have the skin beaded with blue of different shades.
Why blue? Because “it is the color of wisdom, but also of nobility, of ‘blue blood’ in France like bamileke princes” according to his own words. There is also the Egyptian earthenware to which the young artist wanted to make a wink. By covering her human-shaped sculptures each time with these beads of the same color, Beya Gille Gacha reminds us that we all have the same priceless value.
Beya Gille Gacha loves what is beautiful, the light, the world, Man. But it is the injustices, the inequalities that inspire her. Without forgetting the richness of her crossbreeding and her family environment! She likes to describe her art as “raw poetry”. In this sense, her project STOLEN HANDS carried out in early 2018 in Palermo centered around a collective experience that she described as magnetic, quasi-ritual, the result of which led to scenes of hands, molded from those of the participants, imbued with a very poetic mystery.
If she is an artist who imposes herself a little more with each creation, Beya is above all a woman who wonders about her place in the world. This is why her art, which she wants to be useful, is committed and speaks about social issues. It reflects current issues and represents our contemporary society. The ORANT series, for example, which refers to the theme of childhood and the construction of the human being, bears witness to this. The one entitled “Identities” speaks of heroism, of “Symbolics of dismemberment” of perverse and violent acts?
Ultimately, his goal, more than expressing himself, is to inspire other ways of seeing the world and interacting with it, instilling a bit of optimism to move towards something better, more beautiful, sublime.