Ajarb Atwega Bernard, Douala 24 December, 2021. 200x239 cm. Courtesy of Galerie AFIKARIS, Paris.
This new body of work pays tribute to a thematic evolution in the art of Cameroonian artist Ajarb Bernard Ategwa (b. 1988, Kumba, Cameroon). Whilst he feeds his pictorial language from the scenes of daily life focusing mainly on the markets of the Cameroonian capital, Douala, where the artist lives, this new series turns to the local hair salons.
Ategwa explores the aesthetics and sociocultural significance of these salons to local women – sites which between November and December welcome a flurry of women from various strands of society, rekindling one last time before the extended closures of the early year. In this ensemble of 20 canvases and drawings, the women he used to represent in simple clothes, wear their most beautiful outfits, pampering themselves, and sporting flawless hairstyles.
The bright colors spurting under Ategwa’s brushes pay tribute to the pop aesthetic, mirroring the heat and bustle of Douala.