Florian Ludovick Kaija, Mother Daughter, mixed media on canvas, 39" x 31.5"
Written by Nenneya Shields
There is nothing like art. Or rather, nothing without it. Art is in everything. Art speaks to a sixth sense that we can’t quite name: that feeling when your thoughts or emotions become somewhat tangible. The moment when that which stirs within you lines up directly with what is before you, be it image or sound. And it is different for everyone. For example, when I look at Kaija’s Mother and Daughter, it evokes a very specific memory, and each time I see Kindeh’s Concrete Jungle, I am reminded of a promise I made to myself. Chilonga’s Hand in Hand automatically brings me back to a unique moment I witnessed at a local fruit stand near Rue Princesse in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. In this way, these paintings are not only visible but also audible to me. In the moment I can hear, see and sense- in that sixth sense way- the memories. My three memories linked to these paintings are linked directly to either Nigeria or Côte d’Ivoire because those are my experiences. What do these images evoke in others?
Just yesterday I spoke at length with a friend and former classmate who moved back to Uganda. We talked about AfroArt’s mission and she told me about the beautiful art she sees every day, adding that Uganda is full of talented artists. She sees Chuma’s Still Life on our site and shouts “Wow! How unique!” She goes on to explain how the painting speaks to her, saying it expresses how all the “puzzle pieces of life” come together perfectly when you find your soul’s place. This is how she feels about coming home to Uganda. All of her pieces have aligned. She tells me Uganda is where she is meant to be: “[in Uganda], I am my best self. [In Uganda], I have a keen sense of the beauty in my life, the beauty of my history. [In Uganda], I am inspired and I am surrounded by joy. It is such a refreshing and simple joy, that I find myself racing to wake up to it in the morning.” She is excited about this new accessibility of contemporary African art and tells me she looks forward to seeing Ugandan artists on the site soon.
As Chilonga brings me back to Cote d’Ivoire and Chuma settles my friend in Uganda, I can’t help but wonder where they send you. Does Kyalo take you to Malawi? Can Raballa fly you to Namibia? Will you follow Kasembeko to Togo? If they haven’t brought you to Africa already, perhaps they will tomorrow. Africa is the future, after all.
Bracket, "Mama Africa"