By Nii B. Andrews.
The artwork of Joel Mpah Dooh spans many media: paper, canvas, corrugated iron and recently acrylic sheets, while incorporating earth, paints, clay, packaging, wood and chalk.
He has been described as an “inner traveller” – the true artist with a prophetic vision, which we all desperately need; since it can provide us with the impetus and consolation to navigate this world with its xenophobia, crass hatred of others, incompetence and rank corruption all existing among stifling virtue signalling.
Mpah Dooh conjures a powerfully honest synchronicity; he fuses the illustrative style of Europe with the abstract ideas from the African canon; urban and rural; traditional and modern.
The result is a powerful meditation on the “self” and its conflicts….something which can only be continuously effected by the courageous and fully prepared.
Some observers have even insisted that the distorted bodies and highlighted sombre color tones are a reference to the back breaking, soul wrenching, socio-economic deprivation of the African masses arising out of the relentless brutal abuse of power and naked betrayal – not the least from the shameless so called African leaders themselves and their lapdogs who are always rearing and ready to act with impunity.
Do the two works shown here: The World is Upside Down and Motorcycle Symphony not hammer home this perspective?
And what about Bree Street and the others; is the message any more unclear or muted in any way by the unsettling imagery?
Mpah-Dooh is one of the finest artists on the African continent and enjoys international critical acclaim for his paintings and multi-media works.
He lives and works in Douala, Cameroon, and studied Fine Arts in Amiens, France.
Currently, his work is featured in the “Focus Africa” exhibition which opened on Nov. 9 at Artspace Sun in central Seoul.