Tiger GalleryTM is delighted to present Immersion, a solo exhibition of new paintings by self- taught Cameroonian artist Maurice Mboa. Based in Geneva, Mboa has built a distinct artistic practice that fuses painting and engraving on steel panels. Featuring faceless figures nestled within lush backdrops of intricate biomorphic patterns, Mboa’s paintings utilize color and the texture and sheen of steel to convey the inner spirits of his subjects. For this collaboration with Onitsuka Tiger, Mboa is debuting a new series of paintings spotlighting tigers as his primary subjects. As Mboa says, “The tiger embodies strength, grace, courage, and good fortune. These are all traits that Onitsuka Tiger has built its brand on, and all traits that I try to convey in the subjects of my work.”
Mboa refers to his paintings as ‘Soul Prints,’ a play on the word ‘imprint.’ He makes these works on steel, a material that, for Mboa, evokes strength, beauty, as well as the future of mankind. He imports the steel from Africa, bridging his artistic materials and origins. To start each work, Mboa covers the steel surface with a dark layer of black paint, which also acts as a treatment. He then loosely outlines his figures and backgrounds and fills them in with vivid tones of paint. Finally, Mboa carves meticulously with utmost precision into the steel, revealing the original and natural surfaces which bring his paintings to life. The process as a whole is both additive and subtractive.
Mboa’s singular practice engages simultaneously with both material and spiritual realms, invoking a worldview inherited from his grandmother, a traditional healer who engaged with the spirit of plants and nature. His carvings resemble sprawling neural networks that evoke organic movement and pay homage to the body as a vessel. His subjects, portrayed using biometric patterns, express the artist's own inner spirit, and investigate identity, or, more accurately, the illusion of it. By exploring the duality of physical fragility and the intangible yet eternal nature of the soul, his works unfold the interconnectedness of living beings.
Maurice Mboa (b. 1983, Yaoundé, Cameroon) lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland. His work has been exhibited in Africa, various European countries, the Middle East and America, including a 2022 solo exhibition at Pace Gallery in Geneva, and group shows at Pace Gallery in Palm Beach, Florida, and Nassima Landau in Tel Aviv, Israel. Immersion is Mboa's first exhibition in the United Kingdom.
Maurice Mboa: Immersion