Born in the Central African Republic in March 1973, it was in Cameroon that Hervé Youmbi took his first steps as an artist. It all started in his childhood, with a passion for drawing. The desire to brighten up his sketches with the help of color led him to painting and the need to give volume to his forms in sculpture. As a teenager, Youmbi went from being an autodidact to that of an art student. He joined the Institute of Artistic Training (IFA) of Mbalmayo, then the only secondary artistic education establishment in Cameroon. He attended this institution from 1993 to 1996. The theoretical study of art made during his time at the IFA opens the way for Youmbi to install. A year of study and research at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg (ESAD) in France, between October 2000 and June 2001, opened up the universe of moving images to him. During this stay in France he made his first video. In all the media mentioned here – from drawing to painting and sculpture, including installation and video – and others, especially photography, for more than ten years portraits have been the basis of the work of Hervé Youmbi. Through a close study of the human body as it presents itself, represents itself and sees itself represented in an urban setting, Youmbi asks fundamental questions about his city in general, the cities where he stays, those he crosses and dreams of knowing – places, all, which are for him a source of inspiration and support for plastic expression. Hervé Youmbi is a founding member of the Cercle Kapsiki, a collective of five visual artists of Cameroonian nationality founded in 1998. The K Factory, the local of the collective based in New Bell, one of the poorest but also the most dynamic districts of the region. city of Douala, is a flexible cultural space, experimental and open to collaboration. The collective crystallizes its desire to share its passion for art and culture with city dwellers. The K Factory is also a laboratory for artists from different disciplines. It is also and above all a space that welcomes young artists as part of a residency monitored and directed by professional artists. In this, it sets up an approach essential to the development of the local artistic scene in a country whose authorities do not exclude any interest in the visual arts.
Hervé Youmbi is represented by Axis Gallery (New York):