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Adjani Okpu-Egbe


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Adjani Okpu-Egbe is a distinctive voice amongst the new generation of African-born artists.
His textured oil paintings, with their strong social commentary, narrate stories about the artist’s formative experiences living in Cameroon. His subjects express his interest in prominent historical figures and political leaders from Africa.

Adjani was born in Cameroon in 1979. He left home at age 14, managed to gain a degree in politics from The University of Buea, before joining the British Army and moving to the UK. As a soldier Adjani began to paint prolifically, changing course to become a full time artist in 2010. He settled in Brixton where he set up a studio at the back of a fellow Cameroonian's liquor store on Coldharbour Lane.

Adjani’s ability to communicate his everyday stories, combined with political activism, has resulted in a style one might refer to as ‘Afro Expressionism’. This expressionistic, pictographic art form incorporates the artist’s own symbols and characters, reflecting a tradition of oral history passed down through his African lineage.

Often painting onto found materials such as reclaimed furniture, textiles, bubble wrap and old doors, Adjani’s imagination and experimental curiosity allow him to take salvaged materials to heart and use them as convincing metaphors.

His paintings were enthusiastically received at the second 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, and in 2016 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art show, 'Regarding Africa'. The artist has been featured in the Financial Times, Beaux Arts Magazine, CNN, London Live, BBC Radio, and numerous culture journals.

‘The subjects of my paintings are the embodiment of my personal experiences in life, incorporating my childhood and youth to being an artist from Africa living in London. It is an attempt to throw light into these experiences which have made me the artist that I have become.

I believe that my heritage and spiritualism allowed me to pursue my freedom to become an artist, to look to the future and to see the bigger picture. I share a resilience which is found in black people everywhere, which stems from the slave trade, colonial rule, apartheid and the difficult events which culminated in the civil rights movement.’
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  • Cameroonian Artist

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