My work challenges and breaks with stereotypical representations of Black women who are often depicted by western media as submissive, passive, dependent, exotic, and confined to certain roles. Instead, I use the camera to reappropriate the Black body and to deconstruct and break these stereotypes by showing active, proud, and determined women who take up daily challenges, show their place and their role in society, take charge of their own narrative and rewrite history.
Essamba’s work lies at the intersection of the social/gender and the artistic field. She uses photography to bring her message across in a creative way. Her varied background ( Cameroon, France, the Netherlands) and various travels have not only profoundly shaped her eye, but also mean her vision is simultaneously aesthetic, idealistic, realistic, and societal. She joins the spirit of humanist photography with a strong attachment to the values of communion.
I naturally centre black women in my work. They are an inexhaustible source of inspiration and I have never tired of celebrating them in my corpus. I also found that I was regularly encountering stereotypes, particularly in visual landscapes, which confined the black woman to certain roles, often defined by poverty, dependance, passivity, submission and exoticism… I missed images which I could identify with, and this provoked a strong need to capture the black woman through my own lens.
ANGÈLE ETOUNDI ESSAMBA