Boris Nzebo Port-Gentil, Gabon, b. 1979

 

Nzebo explore subjects drawn from his hometown Douala, Cameroon’s largest city. He constructs portraits using detailed studies of traditional African hairstyles, layered with informal snapshots of local neighbourhoods, urban architecture and scenes from daily life. Recent paintings address social and political inequality, individual success being met with persecution in the community, the underbelly of nightlife, moral questioning of adultery and the relationship of hairstyle to personal expression and identity.

 

Nzebo's stylized execution owes a lot to painted haircut signs found outside Cameroon's barber shops, as well as the murals and graffiti throughout Douala’s suburbs. He uses a strong colour palette and appropriates the language of advertising. The works are instantly recognizable - simultaneously personal and universal - and speak in a vernacular familiar to the city’s inhabitants.

 

Manchester Art Gallery hosted a solo exhibition of Nzebo's work in 2016, entitled 'Urban Style'. A piece was subsequently acquired for the museum’s permanent collection and exhibited in 2017. Previous group exhibitions include ‘Pangaea’ & ‘Pangaea II’ at the Saatchi Gallery, London.