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Bernard Ajarb Ategwa is a Cameroonian visual artist. Born in 1988, he lives and works in Douala, the largest city in Cameroon. Commercial crossroads, Douala is a center of constant cultural mixing and migration. This vibrant and colorful metropolis is Ajarb’s source of inspiration.
His paintings are an infinite sequential story describing the chaos of this urban environment. Multicolored snapshots, Ategwa’s works are large format – human size – and restore the scale of urban landscapes and public space: stalls, itinerant stall pushers, taxi stands, newsstands, bars, terrace , markets, roadside vendors … The artist freezes these moments of everyday life. Its vivid color palette and graphic style speak the language of advertising, so familiar to residents of Douala.
Having chosen the bias of depicting characters engaged in close interactions, drawn naturally and unopposed with black and confident lines, Ajarb’s scenes are seen from the front, thus giving the viewer the opportunity to share the same and unique spatiotemporality.
This gifted and self-taught artist has created a new aesthetic with his codes and rules. He is confronted with the ordinary, with the spectacle of the street and the human condition as if to better extract a beauty that only a mastered work of art can translate and reveal.
When other artists with booming careers settled in art centers metropolitan areas like Los Angeles or Berlin, near major art schools, museums and art fairs, Ajarb stayed put. Living and working in Douala is an essential aspect of artistic work.
His keen observation makes him a painter, a photographer and a sociologist.