Angèle Etoundi Essamba is a committed artist involved in a reflection on the identity of the black woman.
The Black woman is at the heart of my artistic expression. She remains an inexhaustible source of inspiration, she is the bearer, the guardian and the transmitter and I celebrate her naturally.
My work challenges and breaks with stereotypical representations of Black women who are often depicted by western media as submissive, passive, dependent, exotic, and confined to certain roles. Instead, I use the camera to reappropriate the Black body and to deconstruct and break these stereotypes by showing active, proud, and determined women who take up daily challenges, show their place and their role in society, take charge of their own narrative and rewrite history.
Essamba’s work lies at the intersection of the social/gender and the artistic field. She uses photography to bring her message across in a creative way.
Her varied background ( Cameroon, France, the Netherlands) and various travels have not only profoundly shaped her eye, but also mean her vision is simultaneously aesthetic, idealistic, realistic, and societal. She joins the spirit of humanist photography with a strong attachment to the values of communion.
Keywords for Essamba’s work are pride, strength and awareness. She focuses exclusively on what the human radiates, whether alone, as a couple or as a group. Her approach is always based on a sense of proximity, reciprocity.
Born in Cameroon and educated in France, Angèle Etoundi Essamba is a graduate of the Dutch Photography School in Amsterdam where she lives and holds a bachelor’s degree in History of Art. Since her first exhibition in 1985 in Amsterdam, her work has been frequently exhibited in museums, institutions, Biennales ( Venice Biennale 2022, Havana Biennale and Johannesburg Biennale), fairs and galleries in Europe, Africa, the United States, Latin America and Asia.
Essamba’s photographs have been featured in various publications among which: Passion 1989; Contrasts 1995; Symboles 1999; Noirs 2001; La Métamorphose du sublime 2003; Dialogues 2006; Voiles & Dévoilements 2008; Africa rising 2010; I- dentity 2010; As it is 2010; Africa see you, see me 2011; Desvelos 2011; Black& Red beyond colour 2012; Women of the water 2013; Invisible, African women in action 2015; Strength & pride 2016; Daughters of life 2018; Renaissance 2019.
Her work is also included in renowned public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA) New York; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art; Boca Raton Museum of Art; The National Museum of Women in the Arts; Fitchburg Museum of Art; Hood Museum, Dartmouth New Hampshire, the World Bank Art Program.