Winner of the last Dakar Biennial, the artist strikes by monumental works that raise questions about the state of our society and our difficulty in living together.
Do not tell her that her name makes you think of the American singer Lady Gaga. The Cameroonian artist is just the opposite. In her case, keeping a low profile is a second nature. Yet, 40 years old, it is already a great lady of the contemporary art scene in Africa. In 2014, she won the 2nd Prize at the Dakar Biennale with “Indignation,” twenty gigantic multicolored cylinders erected such as Scuds against the social wrongs that undermine our early twenty-first century: corruption, nepotism, fundamentalism, etc. A spectacular but especially daring monumental structure considering the difficult political situation facing her country. Commissioned by the art center Doual’art, the work is still waiting for permission to be exhibited in the city.
Bold but also determined and eclectic, the visual artist is constantly experimenting with shapes and materials: painting, video, plaster, plexi glass, metal, wood, concrete, and chalk… She makes us travel through her personal universe. A singular universe populated by enigmatic and slender silhouettes that invite us to rethink our values, beyond pretenses and social conventions.
They were painted on the trees of her village, as the guardians of this little paradise. This idyllic setting is called Bonendale, a fishing village and former German colonial trading post located near Douala. The artist settled there ten years ago, attracted by the tranquility, low rents and also the space that allows her to work freely. In Bonendale, she regularly receives curators visiting her from abroad, organizes every summer numerous art workshops for children and is part of an organization that strives for protection of the Cameroonian mangroves. Justine Gaga, a great lady of today’s contemporary art and a deeply committed citizen.
Bonendale is a rich and exotic excursion, accessible by taxi or car in about 30 minutes from the center of Douala.
The GIC « Jacinthe Environnement Culture » organizes village tours and canoe trips in the mangrove of Douala’s estuary: (tel : +237 699 18 44 54).
Art Bakery : This art center, founded by the artist Goddy Leye (who died in 2011), organizes artist residencies. It is Justine Gaga who is currently the President (+ 237 676 45 28 51).
Voyelle Internationale: experimental research and creation workshop on the basis of the valuation of imperishable waste. (Tel : +237 674 75 54 95)
Quartier Latin : pleasant café and outdoor restaurant located in the village center.
Text & photos Laure Poinsot