AJARB BERNARD ATEGWA WAS BORN IN KUMBA IN 1988. HE LIVES AND WORK IN DOUALA, CAMEROON.
He was marked by his parents’ firm refusal to accept his interest in drawing and painting. More than a distraction, art was an obsession for the young Ajarb. After four months of hard work in a carpentry shop, he decided to pursue his passion.
In 2001, he goes to the economic capital where he lives up to now: a saving move away from all the family pressure. That departure will cost him a long-term relationship with Douala, an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
From snapshots of everyday life, the artist draws his inspiration from public spaces of Douala. His unique use of vibrant colors is used to recall African black and white studio photgraphy from the post independence era.
Whilst he feeds his pictorial language from daily life scenes focusing mainly on the market of the Cameroonian capital, his new series Kwata Saloon, pays tribute to the ephemeral hair salons popping up each year in Cameroon between November and December. While he draws his eye to the pampered women, he underlines the generational and intergender ties cultivated by this local practice. Setting his easel in the beauty parlors, Ategwa bears witness to a temporary period, during which wellbeing and sharing are a central part of social life.
The bright colours spurting under Ategwa’s brushes pay tribute to the pop aesthetic, mirroring the heat and bustle of Douala.