The three paintings in the exhibition depict subjects taking ‘selfies’ on their phones. A contemporary millennial phenomenon that encompasses the world, ‘selfie culture’ is the byproduct of global capitalism and technology on the individual within a society.
The paintings relate to a larger body of work that focuses on African subjects within portraiture in a way that is less about individual/private psyches than communal/external projections of selfhood. Identity, in these portraits, is differentiated by items of clothing, accessories and fashion trends.
Anje’s interest in the ubiquitousness of global consumerism broaches the notion of dependence in relation to identity. In his depiction of his community, with Internet symbols such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Google Chrome and Twitter in lieu of flesh, the problem of trading one’s identity for marketed products in a technocapitalist world is made apparent. While Anje’s subjects buy into systemized notions of acceptance and worth, what is being consumed by the other side takes place with as much voracity.
Boris Anje (born in 1993 in Bamenda, Cameroon). In 2015, he obtained a degree in drawing and painting at IBAF where he also graduated with a Master’s in 2018. He lives and works in Douala.
Photos by Trevor Lloyd.