Boris Nzebo’s paintings reflect on the surroundings of his hometown Douala, Cameroon’s largest city. He uses a strong colour palette, evocative of the murals and graffiti found throughout the suburbs. With a nod towards kitsch, his works are instantly recognisable, personal and universal, with a visual vocabulary that would be familiar to Douala’s inhabitants. Nzebo’s stylised execution owes greatly to the painted haircut advertisements found outside Cameroon’s barbershops. Adapting this aesthetic, he creates portraits taken from the detailed studies of traditional African hairstyles. Often very elaborate, he combines them with informal snapshots of local neighbourhoods, urban architecture and scenes from daily life.
His work was included in Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America (2014) and Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America (2015) — both at the Saatchi Gallery in London, UK. A solo exhibition of his, titled Urban Style, will be presented at Manchester Art Gallery in Manchester, the UK in June 2016.