African Art Beats, a contemporary art gallery dedicated to artists from Africa and its diaspora, showcases Cameroonian female artist Bienvenue Fotso’s latest work in the exhibit Fipan Grass which will run until May 7, 2022.
About Bienvenue Fotso’s Approach and Exhibit
Luminous flowers depicted with their leaves and roots intact as in botanical illustrations or majestic trees solidly anchored to the ground cover Bienvenue Fotso’s canvases. These “portraits of plants” awaken many feelings in the viewer: wonder at nature’s beauty; nostalgia for its ephemerality; contentment at its bounty. They are meant to remind us that nature feeds and regenerates our bodies and souls, and that our very survival depends on its conservation.
Fotso often chooses the plants she portrays for their medicinal properties – flowers, leaves, roots, or bark can be used in a decoction or ground in a paste to cure an illness, heal a wound, or promote our well-being. She named the present exhibit Fipan Grass (after an herb used to treat fever in Cameroon) to celebrate these plants as well as to highlight her traditional and cultural background.
Fotso paints with acrylic on canvas. Her brushstrokes are hardly visible, creating a smooth texture. She builds her paintings patiently and minutiously with a palette that is very clean, harmonious, and bright, and creates an effect of transparency and symbiosis by allowing us to peer through the main subject. A powerful spiral in the background reinforces the vibrancy of the work.
About the Artist
Fotso was born in 1989 in Bandjoun, Cameroon. She lives and works in Douala, the economic capital of the country.
Unlike some who aspire from the youngest age to become artists, for Fotso it was a different journey. In fact, she had always wanted to be a physician. She had experienced acute physical pain as a little girl, and later had cared for her father when he fell ill, so her will was to alleviate the suffering of others. Devastated when a high school orientation counselor advised her not to pursue medical studies, she opted for journalism only to be told that the major was so popular that no new applications were being accepted. At a loss of what to study, she entered the Faculty of Arts where she obtained a Master in English Literature four years later. By chance during her studies, she discovered Futur’Art, an association of artists who encouraged young people interested in the visual arts and started to train with them in her free time. To her surprise, she became deeply passionate. In 2015, she joined the studio of Maurice Pégoué where she trained for four years. In 2016, she had her first exhibit. Since then, her work has been featured in prominent exhibitions in Senegal and in Cameroon, such as Aujourd’hui – an exhibit organized in 2020 by the World Bank and curated by Simon Njami at the Musée National du Cameroun in Yaoundé. Fotso has already sparked the interest of collectors internationally.
Fipan Grass is her first solo show.
About African Art Beats
African Art Beats is a gallery founded in Washington DC in 2019. It features contemporary art by some of the finest emerging and established artists from Africa and its diaspora and has for mission to introduce audiences in the metro area and beyond to contemporary African art.
Fipan Grass runs until May 7, 2022.
It is open to the public Saturday April 9 & Sunday April 10, from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
It will remain on view by private tour until May 7.
Opening hours are flexible, weekends included.
Covid-19 CDC protocols are being followed.
African Art Beats is at 3501 Lowell St. NW.