Daniel Onguene is a visual artist born in Baffousam, Cameroon, now practising in Douala, Cameroon. In his painting included in What Lies Within Us, Onguene has utilised acrylic paint on canvas in his representation of the reality in his culture. His subjects, who appear busy doing odd jobs to sustain their families – selling newspaper, for example, – teach us a lesson on empathy towards people who don’t benefit from the privilege others might have. His figures painted in a neon shade of pinks and purples against the mute background are a fresh perspective on contemporary portraiture. Packed with colour and deep in meaning, his paintings are more than visuals, they are storytellers.
Boris Anje was born in Bamenda, Cameroon, now living and working in Douala, Cameroon. Utilising African symbolism, Anje’s paintings are dynamic and lively. In his present work, “Gods Supremacy I”, we appreciate the mixture of technique Anje has employed. Acrylics, wax transfer and silk screen print on canvas, this explosion of colours presents a confident female subject who is showing off her new clothes. In the artist’s own words, he paints his subjects as people who, despite not having much money, spend it all on fashionable garments and parade them proudly.
Joseph Adibleku, more commonly known as Joblek, is a Ghanian contemporary artist born in 1985. Using a variety of media, such as oils, acrylics, watercolour, ink and pastels, he creates large-scale portraits. In the paintings present in What Lies Within Us, he has exclusively depicted Black figures. Joblek paints them in a very dark skin tone, coupled with enlarged eyes and big, pink lips which act as a focal point in the works. His subjects are a mixture of the imagined and the real. To this artist, art is life, and he uses it as a way to bring the past into the present.
Daniel Ametefe Kukubor
Daniel Ametefe Kukubor is a Ghanian portrait painter. Using acrylics on canvas, Amet paints his subjects in a multi-layered version, putting a contemporary spin on traditional portraiture. With a bright range of colours, he uses a squeegee and a palette knife instead of a brush, explaining that “there is a different feel to them”. A blend between figurative and abstract, his paintings portray the ordinary person in an extraordinary way.
Jil Mandeng is a figurative artist born in Santiago, Chile in 1991. She has grown up in London, but throughout her life, she has moved countries every two years. The collision of so many contrasting cultures has led her inner self to experience an identity crisis, which she records in her paintings. Utilising old family photos for reference, she uses oils and acrylics to collage facial features of two separate people into split portraits, constructed as one figure. The end result, which is an imagined individual, tells a story of cultural displacement and the search for the place where she truly belongs.
Louise Howard is a British painter who discovered her affinity for fine arts at the age of 16. In her present work, she effortlessly marries the styles of realism and abstractionism. She depicts female figures, where their faces are rendered in a photorealistic way, but the rest of the painting is a textured abstraction. Using oils and mixed media on panel, her paintings are a collision of rough and delicate, and the cool tones in her colour palette set the scene of melancholy and being lost in thought.
Isshaq Ismail is a contemporary artist based in Accra, Ghana, where he was born in 1989. In his work, he employs references from Cubism and Abstractionism. With a recognisable influence from Picasso, Ismail’s paintings feature grotesque figures rendered in a childlike manner. Using acrylics on canvas, he portrays subject which tell their unheard stories. With a monotone colour palette, his work contains a certain darkness within it. Ismail describes his work as an “infantile semi-abstraction” – his work is honest, and it’s true to himself.
Jack Kabangu was born in 1996 in Zambia with roots from Congo. He has lived in Denmark since 2005, and the two countries influence the way he makes art. His gloomy figures, expressed with a colour palette which features dark and mute colours, contain both humour and horror. The artist portrays the intersection between the ugly and the beautiful, the light and the shade. Utilising a finger-painting technique, he creates a unique aesthetic which lives in the mind of the viewer for a while after seeing it.
Bradley Theodore grew up in Miami, Florida, where he embarked on his art career. He was influenced by the city’s vibrant colours and aesthetic influence. The paintings by Theodore shown at What Lies Within Us show his signature skull motif rendered in a bright and rich colour palette. His heavy gestural brushstrokes provide a pleasant roughness in the works, which is coupled with the emotional nature of the implied meaning - conveying the innate essence of the notable figures he depicts.
We invite you to visit this exhibition, opening today at our Westbourne Grove location. A beautifully curated selection of artworks, this show makes us feel like we all have a place which we belong to in the present world. Vibrant colours, masterful compositions and a strong message – What Lies Within Us is a show not to be missed!