Known for his multilayered body of work emphasizing African hairstyles and the vibrant urban landscape of his hometown of Douala, Gabon-born artist Nzebo addresses issues such as violence, social inequalities and political instability.
Influenced by his background in advertising as well as by the art of Roy Lichtenstein (1923–97) and his mentor Goddy Leye, he depicts stylized figures recalling painted haircut signs found outside West African beauty salons, which he layers over scenes from daily life and architecture. In his crowded paintings rendered in strong, almost psychedelic colour palettes, Nzebo invites the viewer to contemplate on metaphors of cultural belonging, societal hierarchy and the intimate relationship between individuals and the spaces they inhabit. While the images accumulate and seem to overlap, the lines weave and untwist before fading and revealing, thanks to a subtle game of entanglement, a synergetic connection that compels the eye to deconstruct each canvas
and allows for a multiplicity of interpretations of its intricate narrative.
Text by Janine Gaelle Dieudji
Jack Bell Gallery, London.
Saatchi Collection, acquired in 2013.
Sotheby's London, Lot 20, Sale L18802, October 16, 2018