Against the colorful and radiant backdrop of his paintings, Anjel (born Boris Anje) is celebrated for his depictions of contemporary African dandies. His subjects’ outfits, decorated with famous brand names, reflect both consumerist culture and African symbolism. As Anjel himself once described it: “I want to give value to the Black body. ... I’m trying to give some kind of attention, some kind of attraction, to the person of colour.” During his studies at the Institute of Fine Arts Foumban in Cameroon, Anjel was an artist in residence at Les Ateliers Sahm in Brazzaville, Congo, where he encountered “sapeur culture,” a subculture characterised by the wearing of colourful clothing as a means of protest. Through the present day, it has become an important part of African heritage, and women have increasingly become part of the movement too.
Anjel, Shades of Pride, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 140 x 110cm, Courtesy of the artist and OOA Gallery
Anjel, Be human, 2020, Acrylic and posca on canvas, 160 x 130 cm, Courtesy of the artist