Laurent Bahanag | Portraits

Emerging from a palette of dark hues, Laurent Bahanag’s poignant figures contrast with immaculately white backgrounds that accentuate their undecipherable expressions. As the men, women, and children seem lost in thoughts, they challenge the viewer to delve into their life story and analyse whether it is pain or joy they hold within. Seemingly unfinished, the sketch-like portraits also invite to a creative journey of visualisation: how would they appear in full colour and shape? 

N. 57, Mixed Media on Paper

Originally from Cameroun, Bahanag is undoubtedly inspired by African sculpture, tribal masks, and highly stylised human figures, which he reinterprets through series of enigmatic portraits that set him off on an existentialist exploration about fate and the absence thereof. 

N. 41, Mixed Media on Wood Board

With the sporadic use of colour pencils as highlighters of facial features, the artist  injects a certain sense of humanity into his protagonists, who progressively metamorphose from disturbing creatures to endearing beings. The examination of their portraits, which appear simple in form and yet so complex in meaning, comes hand in hand with discomfort. As we attempt to uncover the secrets concealed by their incomplete appearance, they seem to be reciprocating.