By Tajudeen Sowole
Influenced by native Doualan culture and French modernity, visiting Cameroonian artist, Joel Mpah-Dooh shares his style and technique with Lagos community of art enthusiasts in an exhibition organised as as part of Francophonie week 2016.
Titled Time To Meet, the exhibition, which is organised by Omenka Gallery and Alliance Francaise is currently showing till April 3, 2016 the exhibition is Mpah-Dooh’s first solo effort in Nigeria, an opportunity tha afforeds visitors to the show to see what the organisers described as the artist's work on aluminum. The exhibits, they noted are coming from "the depth of introspection" within the context human begaviourial patterns across the world.
"The artist projects these contemplations in metaphors relying on a medium, means and style," says a curatorial statement attached with the works. "In this regard, Mpah-Dooh’s Time To Meet comes in a complex of images that dwell on the contradictions of human life."
From the soft copy of Mpah-Dooh's work, there lies a bit of satirical forn insome of his forms that are a bridge between drawing and painting. However, in art hub city like Lagos, where the space has been more wider - beyond the conservative ceiling - Dooh's work arrives at the appropriate time.
Mpah-Dooh is one of the finest artists on the African continent and enjoys international critical acclaim with his paintings and multi-media works. He lives and works in Douala, Cameroon, and studied Fine Arts in Amiens, France.
Mpah-Dooh is preoccupied with experimentation in his work. He is inspired by the tactile reality of his environment though he is mostly an inner traveler. His techniques involve scratching and he works on paper, canvas, corrugated iron and recently acrylic sheets, while incorporating earth, paints, clay, packaging, wood and chalk. Mpah-Dooh explores the fragility of individual human identity and how we reinvent ourselves while moving and evolving in the city. He suggests that in the process, this delicate “self” takes control through conflict with society and its institutions while drawing on history and destiny, as well as relationships. Mpah-Dooh’s oeuvre is characterized by the mysterious and the familiar. He has an uncommon gift of synchronizing conflicting elements; French and Doualan, traditional and modern, while blending a myriad of influences.
Mpah-Dooh was a visiting artist at the Bag Factory in Fordsbury, Johannesburg. Some of his exhibitions include Rendezvous, which was the highlight of the 2006 Dakar Bienniale of African Contemporary Art in Senegal. He also participated in Connections, an exhibition organized by the MTN Art Foundation in 2001, alongside William Kentridge, Kendell Geers and Samuel Fosso. He has held solo and group exhibitions in Cameroon, Austria, Senegal, France, Cuba, Lebanon, Kenya and the United states.