Ajarb Bernard Ategwa, 'Untitled', 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 230.5 x 400 cm, Courtesy of Jack Bell Gallery
Ajarb Bernard Ategwa, 'Untitled', 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 230.5 x 400 cm, Courtesy of Jack Bell Gallery 

Cameroon’s largest city, Douala, remains a site of foreign influences—embedded in its history, and more recently, hosting an influx of migrants from within the country, as well as from its neighbouring regions. Shaping Douala into the vibrant and colourful metropole that it is today, its evolving landscape is a major source of inspiration for Ajarb Bernard Ategwa, whose paintings form a constellation within a larger narrative based on the chaos of his hometown.

Shifting between taxi stands, newsagents, roadside markets, and fleeting moments of calm, Ategwa’s scenes, distinctly rendered in a vibrant color palette, act as candid snapshots of everyday life. Large format, to mimic the scale of cityscapes and public space, his palette and graphic use of bold, delineated forms echo the language of vernacular advertising in Douala. With finesse, Ategwa sutures together the sights, sounds, and smells of the street to create a rich sensory immersion. From within the chaos of urbanity, emerges a distilled sense of flow, rhythm, and peace.