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Photo London 2022 : Doyle Wham : Angèle Etoundi Essamba


Angèle Etoundi Essamba – Corps et Fruit (1999)

Angèle Etoundi Essamba was born in Douala, Cameroon. She graduated from the School of Photography of Amsterdam where she currently lives and works. Since her first exhibition in 1985 in Amsterdam, her work has been exhibited in museums, institutions, art fairs, biennales and galleries in Africa, Europe, the United States, Latin America, Arab Emirates and Asia. Women constitute the  main subject of her artistic expression, with a focus on conveying the multitude of African female identities.

Essamba has inspired subsequent generations of African female photographers and in recognition of her achievements, she has been chosen to represent her country, Cameroon, for their first national pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year.

At Photo London, we are exhibiting Angèle Etoundi Essamba’s groundbreaking series of vintage silver gelatin prints, black and white photographs of non-professional female ‘models’, who range from family members to friends and acquaintances of the artist, and women she has met on the street. Developed by the artist in her personal darkroom between 1986 and 2002, the prints on show are among the last remaining in Essamba’s possession and a testament to a celebrated era of darkroom production. Depicting the beauty of lustrous bare skin, or accessorising her subjects with swaths of fabric, traditional headwear, jewellery or body paint, Essamba’s portraits challenge stereotypical presentations of Black women to foreground the female narrative, reflecting on the cultural identities of the modern African woman.

Doyle Wham is the UK’s first and only contemporary African photography gallery. The gallery was founded in October 2020 with an itinerant programme of physical and digital exhibitions. In March 2022, Doyle Wham launched its first permanent location in Shoreditch, London.

Doyle Wham

Photo London 2022
12 – 15 May 2022
Somerset House

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