In recent works, Ategwa uses portrait formats and draws on subjects from a neighbourhood photo studio. He offers a local perspective on modes of self-representation in Cameroon today. Both style and composition in these images recall black and white studio photography from the post-independence era across the continent. The use of framing and strong defined identities reference more contemporary influences from social media platforms. In stark contrast to the artist’s hard-line execution, he introduces a new painterly water colour element which holds back the portrait’s full disclosure.
Douala remains a site of international influences embedded in its history, or more recently, hosting an influx of migrants from within the country, as well as from its neighbouring regions. Shaping Douala into the vibrant and colourful metropolis that it is today, its evolving landscape is a major source of inspiration for Ategwa. His work has recently been acquired by the Perez Art Museum Miami. Previous exhibitions include Peres Projects, Berlin, and the Cameroon National Museum, curated by Simon Njami.