By Japhet Alakam
AFTER participating in many solo and group exhibitions in his country Cameroon and other countries in the world, Cameroonian born artist last week opened his first solo exhibition in Nigeria.
The high profile exhibition which was graced by notable art patrons, collectors, artists and art lovers opened on March 12 at Omenka gallery, Ikoyi and will run till April 3, 2016.
The exhibition tagged Time to Meet, an exhibition of recent works by Cameroonian artist, Joel Mpah Dooh’s which featured some of the works that come in a complex of images that dwell on the contradictions of human life was facilitated by Omenka Gallery in collaboration with Alliance Francaise as part of Francophonie week 2016.
This is Mpah Dooh’s first solo exhibition in Nigeria where he will present recent works on aluminum arising from the depth of introspection regarding the way fellow humans act in the world. The artist projects these contemplations in metaphors relying on a medium, means and style. In this regard, Dooh’s Time to Meet comes in a complex of images that dwell on the contradictions of human life. Perhaps, in consideration here is Dooh’s style that consists of suffusion of the lines, which make his figures compelling; they appear to tease his audience, with his love for graffiti and child-like art.
Joel Mpah-Dooh is one of the finest artists on the African continent and enjoys international critical acclaim with his paintings and multi-media works. Some of the exhibiting works include City of Zen, Speaking like time moves; Between what you see and what they want you to see; Time Goes; The new Explorers; The face of William; The boy and his dog, The paper series and others.
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.
In the body of works, 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.
Joel Mpah-Dooh who lives and works in Douala, Cameroon, studied Fine Arts in Amiens, France. He 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.