Cameroon born artist Sesse Elangwe paints with passion and purpose; his expression goes beyond the canvas; as he comprehends that painting is more than the meaningful creation of an image, but rather a form of self-transcendence.
Combining African heritage and artistic movements such as Cubism, Surrealism, and Pop art inform Elangwe’s practice. As he confidently perpetrates his aesthetic elegance to critically document some of the conditions experienced by the Black community in Africa.
My style came to be because I always wanted to try new things. I paint a lot, and from this, I sought out more ways to better communicate my feelings
His compositions ooze the art movements Elangwe admires as he plays with the notions of light and the blurred lines of reality. Placing figures in captivating backdrops full of depth sets his scenes.
These vivid eye-catching scenes accentuate the magnificence of his subjects’ skin and their countenance. The positioning of their larger than life eyes is the focal point that sparks curiosity and immediately engrosses you.
Their magnified eyes lead you to an existential place between here and now without moving, immersion at its finest. The eyes symbolise enlightenment that encourages viewers to ask themselves difficult questions—a recurring trait throughout his current works.
Storytelling is an art form that allows us to connect and learn about the world. It enables us to understand ourselves and other cultures. Elangwe apprehends the essence within his timeless portraits, which document the tenacity of the Black Community in Africa. Sesse Elangwe is an artist to pay close attention to.
Q: Hi Sesse, can you please introduce yourself for those who don’t know you?
Sesse Elangwe: I am Elangwe Sesse, a Cameroonian visual artist from Buea. I’m currently based in San Antonio, Texas, United States.
Q: How long have you been making art, how did you get started, and why do you create art?
Sesse Elangwe: I have been making art professionally for over eight years. I started making art as a kid; then, I went to an art workshop. A brewery company in Cameroon sponsored this program. Me and some other kids were taught some basic techniques in art. Since then, my love for art has grown. In my later years, I decided to go into it full time. Now I create art as a fulfilment to my soul and a means for me to inspire my society for good.
Q: Can you tell us how you develop your style?
Sesse Elangwe: My style came to be because I always wanted to try new things. I paint a lot, and from this, I sought out more ways to better communicate my feelings through the inspiration of cubism, African art, surrealism, and pop art.
Q: Your work utilised portraiture to document some of the conditions experienced by the Black community that features a dominant focus on their eyes. Can you tell the motivation behind this?
Sesse Elangwe: It’s not a new thing as to what we Black people and people of colour have been facing over the years in the world, so I find it necessary to keep telling these stories and educating my society to contribute to creating a better future.
Remember before we could get this amount of liberty we share now, it was because of the sacrifices made by some other people, and it’s necessary to continue in that light for a better and more balanced life for our kids and the world.
The man in the mirror
Q: The studio is the sacred temple of creativity. What are three things you can’t live without in your studio?
Sesse Elangwe: The three things I can’t live without in my studio are Prayers, Art materials and wisdom.
Our Own Lane
Q: What can visitors expect to experience, In your current exhibition with Mitochondria Gallery?
Sesse Elangwe: Visitors to my Solo exhibition “Dawn” at Mitochondria gallery should expect to be in conversations with themselves and others on topics of personal growth, enlightenment, and the progress of society.
We where always present
Q: What does art mean to you?
Sesse Elangwe: To me, Art is my life, it’s like drugs to me, and I am addicted.
Q: Lastly, what’s next for you as an artist?
Sesse Elangwe: A lot, I can’t say it right now, but with God by my side, I know the sky is my starting point. Thank you.
Sesse Elangew‘s currently has a solo exhibition ‘Dawn’ at Mitochondria Gallery in Houston, Texas until the 10th of February 2022