Alida Ymelé and her heroines on canvas.

From an early age, Alida Ymelé was sensitive to art. Drawing or "doodling" as she likes to say, then gives her immense joy. The loss of her parents very early confirmed his love for art which, beyond allowing him to express her points of view, soothes her and represents a real outlet.

1 - Tell us about your background

My name is Alida Ymelé. I was born in 1994 in Cameroon. I live and work in Douala. In 2019, I obtained a professional Master's degree in Plastic Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts of Nkongsamba, at the University of Douala.

I had the pleasure of participating in numerous group exhibitions such as Sonsbeek in Arnhem in the Netherlands (2021), Artuelles interférences in Cameroon in 2020 and 2021 or Woman Power at Bandjoun Station in Cameroon in 2018, to mention only a few...

2 - What are your inspirations?

Women, who are the base of my childhood, are at the center of my work. My artistic practice is a permanent exploration revolving around societal questions concerning them.

I am an observer of daily life and I like to highlight these heroines of modern times. I draw inspiration from the women around me, from my various encounters, from my discussions with women survivors of immigration and also from my many researches and readings.

I recently became a young stay-at-home mom and this new status has a huge impact on my work, since these women who shaped my childhood were all mothers to me.

3 - What technique(s) do you use for your creations?

Thanks to a mixed technique that combines acrylic paint, posca and acrylic, chinese ink on canvas; I give my models strengths and powers, which turn out to be attributes contrary to their starting status.

The stripes, sometimes in the background of the fabrics, sometimes on the faces, play a very important role. These lines come from the so-called "Ghana must go" bags, which recall the difficult story of the escape of 2 million illegal Ghanaian immigrants, driven out of Nigeria in the early 1980s. Like a labyrinth, the complexity of the weaving of this bag represents the difficulties encountered by these reckless women, as well as the individual stories that intertwine to constitute a true collective memory.

The choice of warm colors symbolizes power, strength and energy. As for the gray that runs through the faces, it is for me a way to deconstruct the concept of race as color, which was inspired by the American painter Amy Sherald.

5 - What are your major exhibitions?

I have to my credit eleven (11) collective exhibitions spread between Cameroon and Europe, the most important of which to date remains that of "Sonsbeek" in Arnhem (Netherlands). "Sonsbeek" is a historical exhibition project initiated in 1949 after the Second World War. This exhibition had been launched with the aim of repairing the heavy damage that the city had suffered during the battle of Arnhem during the Second World War. It was for me a determining experience, which reinforced me more in my choice to follow an artistic path rather than another...

6 - Where can we see your works?

For the moment, and when there is no exhibition or any other artistic/cultural event upcoming, I am sharing my creations online. So you can find them on my official Facebook and Instagram accounts.


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