Jean-David Nkot

Jean David Nkot was born in Douala, Cameroon where he lives and works. In 2010, he got a painting A-level at the Institute of Artistic Training of Mbalmayo (IFA) before joining the Institute of Fine Arts Foumban, where he obtained a degree in drawing/painting. In 2017 he joined the Post Master Moving Frontiers organized by the National School of Arts of Paris-Cergy, France on the theme of borders. Throughout his training in the fine arts of Foumban, he received several artistic distinctions (Best sculptor, installer and painter). Conscious of what his elders can bring him he is frequently in the workshops of Hervé Youmbi, Salifou LINDOU, Jean Jacques KANTÉ, Pascal KENFACK, Ruth BELINGA.

Painter of the human condition, bodies and territories structure his artistic approach. His artworks question and shake consciences by exploring and exposing faces submerged by inscriptions. The recurring pattern of cartography questions the fight of bodies on territories. Far from drawing the attention of the viewer on the identity of his characters, Jean David highlights the expression of the turmoil inhabiting them in the manner of Zhang Dali, Francis Bacon and Jenny Saville.


Investec Cape Town Art fair, Cape Town, South Africa
1-54 Marrakech, solo show, Marrakech, Morocco
"Origines", collective exhibition, Afikaris Gallery, Paris, France
1-54 New York, Jack Bell Gallery, New York, United States

AKAA Art fair, Paris, France
1:54 art fair, London, UK
Individual exhibition at Jack Bell Gallery, London
Alliance Française de Nairobi, duo show, Nairobi, Kenya
1:54 art fair, New York, USA

"Invisible Borders", collective exhibition, Afikaris Gallery, Paris, France
1:54 art fair, London, UK
Individual exhibition at Jack Bell Gallery, London, United Kingdom
World bank, Cameroon
Métaphore du Big Bang, Carole Kvanevski gallery, Paris, France
Urban attitude Ravy (rencontre d’art visuel de yaounde), Yaounde, Cameroun

SUD (salon urbain de douala IND), Douala, Cameroon
« Mémoire Libérée », National museum of Cameroon, Yaounde, Cameroon
« Cheminement », Yaounde contemporary art Gallery, Yaounde, Cameroon
Behind the gate, Bandjoun Station, Cameroon.
“Our wishes”, Léopold Museum, Vienne, Austria.

« A fleur de peau », Individual exhibition, Doual’art, Cameroon YIA Art fair, France
« Dialogues », Bandjoun station, Cameroon
« Congo / Cameroon: esthétique en partage au-delà des Géographies », Dakar biennale, Senegal
« BIND: contemporary images, Dakar biennale, Senegal
Bandjoun Station, Cameroon
Ravy (Rencontre d’Art Visuel Yaoundé), Cameroun

Cape Town Art fair, South Africa
“Jeune regard urbain II », Doual’art, Cameroon
“A contemporary view », world bank, Yaounde, Cameroon

« Ca-me-dit martyrs », Espace Doual’art, Cameroon
« Water », young artists, Foumban, Cameroon
Cameroun-Tchad feeling, Ndjamena
Co’art 4th edition, Cotco Douala

Urban artfair, Douala, off, Cameroon
3rd edition of plastic arts market (MAP), Douala, Cameroon
3rd edition “couleur et toile”, Hôtel prince de Galles, Douala, Cameroon

You often talk about the concept of “grey zone.” What is, for you, the grey zone today? How do you deal with it in your work?
I work a lot on the concept of grey zone. I borrowed this concept to Primo Lévi. For him, the grey zone was the relationship between the executioner and the victim, a relationship of dominant party over the dominated party. I use this concept in my work by applying it to the migratory question and the human condition during this movement. For me, the grey zone is what is between the point of departure and the point of arrival. This is this zone that I want to depict. I deal with it in my work through the relation between space and the character I paint. The first zone to be considered is the space of departure. The middle zone is symbolized by the character standing in the foreground of my work. The last zone, which is the zone of arrival, is the dream that my characters carries during their trip. Thus, there is a relation between space, which is symbolized by the map, and the individual who is standing in the middle of this grey zone.

Did Paris Cergy’s "Moving Frontiers" program play an important role in the progression of your work?
The "Moving Frontiers" program has been important in the evolution of my work. As a result of this project, the theme of migration imposed itself on me. It also opened me the doors of one of the most important residences of my career at la Cité Internationale des Arts. The latter also gave birth to the project "The undesirables" that continues with the new series "The Shadows of Space".

Do you consider yourself a politically engaged artist?
I would not go as far as saying that I am an engaged committed artist. What I do know is that before being an artist, I am a human being who lives in a society, in a space in a changing world. Thus, transformation is a subject that speaks to me and concerns me. I want things to change and I need to talk about it, make this problem visible and create dialogue spaces to discuss it.
Art offers us the possibility and the means, both ideological and aesthetic, to say things that speak to everyone, and this is at this specific moment that my artistic practice takes place. I’m just using these tools to draw attention to this time of change. As an artist, I would like to immortalize these changes so that no one is ignorant of what happened during this period.

160x140cm, Jean-David Nkot
162x130cm, Jean-David Nkot
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108x112cm, Jean-David Nkot
108x112cm, Jean-David Nkot
108x112cm, Jean-David Nkot
108x112cm, Jean-David Nkot
108x112cm, Jean-David Nkot
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140x160cm, Jean-David Nkot
140x160cm, Jean-David Nkot
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120x120cm, Jean-David Nkot
200x160cm, Jean-David Nkot