Contemporary African Art Exhibition Series

Angèle Etoundi Essamba

“Photography is for me a need, the need to express and to communicate. As long as the need will exist, I will create.”

Angèle Etoundi Essamba was born in Douala, Cameroon in 1962 and grew-up in Yaoundé. As a young girl, she went to Paris where she received her education. Later on she moved to the Netherlands where she trained at the Nederlandse Fotovakschool (Netherlands professional school of photography). Etoundi Essamba gained international recognition with exhibitions all over the world. Her photographs were first displayed in 1985 at the Maison Descartes in Amsterdam. Exhibitions followed throughout the world (Africa, Europe, South America and the United States ), and her work has appeared in a number of publications : Passion 1989, Contrasts 1995, Symboles 1999, Noirs 2001; La Métamorphose du sublime, 2003, Dialogue 2006, Voiles & Dévoilements, 2008 and is now part of several public and private collections.

Etoundi Essamba has a long and recognized trajectory in realization of photographical register of black women. In her work, she breaks from stereotypical representations of an Africa torn by famines, epidemics and wars, instead celebrating the cultural richness and diversity of the continent. Her varied background means her outlook is equally aesthetic, idealistic, realistic, intimate and societal. Therefore, she joins the spirit of humanistic photography, a strong attachment to the values of communion, solidarity and equality between men.

Angele’s work has a deep influence of her own multicultural trajectory (born in Cameroon, raised in Paris and a Dutch Citizen). She is focused in the creation of black women portraits that question the concepts of identity, alterity and cultural duality, in order to promote mutual respect, understanding and tolerance. Her work shows pride, strength and consciousness of African women and the relation between tradition and modernity. So she presents a vision of Women, Africa and its culture.

"Essamba’s uses the human body as an aesthetic plain to represent the mental reality of exile and life between two cultures (...)" *
* Joelle Buscat, Alters et ego in Femmes dans les Arts d’Afrique,
Dapper Museum


Selected Exhibitions & Projects

Maison Descartes, Amsterdam   1985
Melkweg Gallery, Amsterdam   1990
Omni Gallery, Uniondale, New York U.S.A   1995
Michaelis Collection, Cape Town   1998
Gallery Africrea, Yaounde’ Cameroon   2000
Biennial Dak’Art, Dakar   2002
The Moba Art Gallery, Brussels   2002
UNESCO, Paris National museum   2006
Zanzibar , Tanzania   2007
Skoto Gallery, New York USA   2008
Galeria Safia, Barcelona   2008
Musee Dapper, Paris   2008
World Bank Art Program, Washington   2008
AFD Agence Française   2009
Los Angeles Art Show   2009
Africa Museum , Tervuren   2009
PANAF Algiers   2009
CĂ©lebration of the Independence of Cameroon, Special programme for First Ladies, YaoundĂ©   2010
CCF Saint-Louis de France, Rome   2010
Espaç Cult Zumbi dos Palmares   2010
BrasĂ­lia-DF Maison Louis Vuitton, Paris   2010
Centro Cultural Cajastur, GijĂłn (Asturias), Spain   2010
Lagos Photo project,  Lagos, Nigeria   2010
MusĂ©e des beaux-arts , Dunkerque, France   2010/11



Bekris Gallery, San Francisco, CA   2011
Art Chicago, Chicago   2011
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY   2011
"Odes to the Mask” Internat. Africa Fest, Wurzburg (DL)   2011

I-dentity/ Eye –dentity, - tribute to Afro- Colombian women. Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of Colombia for the celebration of the Bicentennial of the Independence.

ESSAMBA HOME FOUNDATION contributes to improve the life conditions of abandoned and street girls in Cameroon and facilitate their social economic re-integration, through cultural activities.

CONNECTING the DIASPORA with Africa is inspired by the UN proclamation of 2011- an ongoing photographic project that focuses on African women in Africa and the Diaspora.


Arte, Milano, 2002; Katalog Foto magazine/ Portfolio, 2004; Angèle Etoundi Essamba catalogue galerie Safia Barcelona , 2004; CAN magazineHoofddorp (NL) 2006 ; Photo book, Voiles et Dévoilements, 2008; Fotografi Magazine, 2008; El Adelantado, 2009; NRC 2009; Europa 2009; ARTS: A way of seeing African Women, Musée Dapper, 2009; L’Officiel, 2009 ; De Burger, 2009 ;
ADN Madrid 2010 ;El Mundo Madrid 2010; El Pais Madrid2010 ;
El Espectador Bogotá 2010