Angèle Etoundi Essamba (Born in Douala, 1962) is a Cameroonian photographer living and working in Amsterdam, she is known for her photography work in black and white that often focuses on the African female as a subject matter. Essamba is one of the most successful woman photographers today as she has more than 200 exhibitions around the world and more than 50 publications in journals and magazines.[1]


Angèle Etoundi Essaamba was born in Douala, Cameroon in 1963 and grew up in Yaounde.[2] She moved to Paris when she was ten and was trained at the Dutch Professional Photography School in The Hague. She then moved to Amsterdam (Netherlands) in 1982 where she studied at the Nederlandse Fotovak school (Dutch School for Professional Photography).[3] Essamba attended the Lyceum in Paris, where she studied philosophy, dance, and photography.[4]

She is associated with DUTA or Douala Urban Touch of Arts, which allows Central African visual artists in Douala, Cameroon to share their work.

Photographic career

She focuses on the African female in her black-and-white photography. Her first exhibition was in 1984 at the Gallerie Art Collective in Amsterdam. Her 1995 series of black-and-white photographs, White Line, was awarded the Prix Spécial Afrique at the Festival des Trois Continents, Nantes in 1996. She wants her work to inspire discussions between cultures and people. Her art is highly influenced by her African descent as well as her diverse cultural environment.[3] Drawing on her personal experiences and history, culture,perspective and environmental influences, Essamba's photographs combine technique with a strong sense of emotion.[3] She has shown her works in several exhibitions in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States[5] including: Bienal de La Habana (1994), Venice Biennale (1994), Johannesburg Biennale (1995), Festival of the Three Continents (1996).[3]

Essemba has a great interest in capturing images of black women and the way she represents them presents a challenge against Eurocentric expectations of how African women should be represented. Her work embodies mysticism and eroticism, showing women with strong sensual bodies.[6]


  1. ^ Akomolafe, Femi (2013). "Introducing Angele Etoundi Essamba: the photography of Angele Etoundi has garnered international acclaim. In this wide-ranging interview for New African, she explains to Femi Akomolafe something of her childhood in Cameroon before moving to live in France, and what currently motivates her amazing work". New African: 84. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "'As It Is !' : Contemporary African Art Exhibition Series". www.themojogallery.com. Retrieved 18 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d "ANGÈLE ETOUNDI ESSAMBA". ArtAnTide.com. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  4. ^ Hassan, Salah (1997). Gendered Visions. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press. p. 102. 
  5. ^ Magee, Carol. "Essamba, Angèle Etoundi". www.oxfordartonline.com. Oxford Art Online. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Magee, Carol. "Essamba, Angèle Etoundi". Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 

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