Enfant Précoce | Artist Overview

Enfant Précoce

b. 1989

Born in 1989 in Cameroon, Francis Essoua, known as Enfant Précoce, moved to France at the age of nine where he would become a dancer, before transitioning to painting in 2013 through his love for fashion. From the start, his practice is dominated by bright colors and ornamental patterns, those he gleans from his daily life and those that take him back to the fiery tones of his childhood on the Cameroonian coast. Initially expressing himself through abstraction, Enfant Précoce quickly turned to the figurative. With a free and generous stroke, he paints instinctively scenes from his imagination. Each of them links him to his history, his life in Cameroon, the members of his family, such as Malam, his uncle, a sculptor who introduced him to the world of art, and above all the tales that he can spend hours listening to: the fable of the rainbows announcing the birth of the elephants or that of Ngondo the crocodile, the guardian of the forest. This folklore represents one of the bases of his pictorial vocabulary, which he enriches with more contemporary mythology, that of today's Africa, with his Marabouts and his Ben Skin. Visions that continue to anchor him in his own memories but also carry a social message that permeates his work. By retracing his story and the one of his family, Enfant Précoce narrates a collective experience, about a failing government, a colonial education system, a migratory path to France, a tumultuous integration, a job that one has not chosen but that allows supporting relatives left in Africa... A social reality that he does not want to show crudely, preferring to suggest it by talking about life, in the manner of the tales that he likes so much. His painting is political without being confrontational. As a poet of difficult lives, Enfant Précoce expresses his view of contemporary society, "lived as a black and a foreigner", through the multicolored light of his palette and his country.