La Mama Africa bleeds in Colour, Culture & Couture.
Follow me as I illustrate her beauty. Behold the mother of All.
One of my favorite mangas growing up was “the twins of destiny”. In French, it translates as “Les Jumeaux du bout du monde”.
The picture that inspired this image is that of a little girl looking exactly like the one(s) in this illustration.
She is however vested differently, and of a different complexion.
I thought of giving her a twin aesthetically identical to her but inherently different per her complexion, hair and color taste.
Also, being that i to some extent reject mimesis, Mondrian “Composition II” in red blue and yellow, help emphasize my different take on the original piece.
Bororo oh bororo,
you women who did my hair from as long as I can recall.
My head tightly locked in between your legs, you birthed the thinnest and tightest braids from my hair as I screamed and cried from pain.
With your obscure artifacts, tailed combs perhaps
your fingers dancing through and fro my kinky hair
Oh how much I cried, and many with me
Crying from the physical pain as well as the many smells attacking me all at once.. emanating from in between your legs
sign of how much you’d walked and traveled..
telling the stories from city to city
they were breathing testimonies,
taking away the breath of who ever came near.
Alas always, after many tears and suffering,
as promptly as your fingers ceased dancing upon my hair
as if possessed I rose and grabbed
the nearest mirror, oh sweet vanity
and proudly admired the art you made
I was pretty!
Just like that I forgot all the prior qualms
& rushed out to whomever wanted to see
oh how pretty I was that day.
I hope to one day
have my children experience the same
I wonder if one can tell the reality behind this illustration.
I usually write poems, song lyrics or quotes under my illustrations
However, this time i’ll write an explanation.
A black & white illustration of a beautiful child looking back at us the viewer with his/her innocence and pure eyes.
he holds a cup; was it full before?
Was the cup filled with water? Did he drink the water, did he splash his face with said water.. or maybe both?
Butterflies surround him/her, they are equally as astounding looking as the child.
Overall, this image must signify beauty & innocence of a child.
Taking in context that Mater Dei represents our Mother Africa
and knowing the harsh reality that some African children face,
we can further dive into this image.
A black & White image, for Black and white often mask imperfections & give them an iconic/artistic dimension.
The black and white is indeed the center piece of this illustration, for as it masks imperfections, it goes as far as masking whether or not the water dripping down this child’s face is clean or not.
As the child holds the cup seemingly empty, we may wonder..
the water, did he drink it? Did he use it to splash his face? Furthermore, was it clean?
The hues of red on his shirt actually represent dirt.. beautified dirt, but dirt nonetheless.
this shirt has been worn several times in the last 4 months, and was probably a hand-me-down from an older sibling.
The child’s lashes are both black AND white. It represents the eye crust often present on those (often misleading) images that the occidental media feeds us, as they demand for us to feed-the-children.
The Butterfly seemingly swarming the child are in reality flies attacking the child’s face, as they will soon elect housing on different areas appealing their fancy.
Lastly, “pure eyes” as inscribed around this child’s left eye.
This indicates that despite all these tragic occurrences, a child’s eye remains pure.
I hope you see beauty in both imageries.
Don’t Thread on me.
Hues of Culture & Couture
-- I might Edit this later.. can’t think of anything to write at the moment --
Sleep Sleep little child,
oh how safe must you feel
from your dad’s embrace
You know, You’re sure
That sometimes a mother,
can be your father.
What is yet to come dances seemingly a child
Sometimes it stops and you can almost grab it
oftentimes it swiftly shimmies away
a never ending carousel
Always ingenuous, always free
Oh African Child do you recall?
wrapped on your mother’s back, did you ever fall?
Once unable, Later eager to walk you laid,
flat on her back & often you wondered,
Oh how strong is my mother!
Carrying on her back her burden & mine intertwined.
Her Love transpired as she worked under the unforgiving sun,
The cloth of her love firmly tightened around my small body.
As I grew, strong, proud & healthy
whilst not literally, she still carries
me on her back, my burdens and my siblings’ aussi
So often i sit in awe as I wonder,
how on earth did i deserve such a woman,
Life changes its beauty all the time
Sometimes life is a shade, sometimes life is sunlight
Live every moment here to your heart's content
The time that is here may not be tomorrow
One who loves you whole-heartedly
It is difficult meet such a person
If there is someone like that somewhere
That person is more beautiful than all
Grab onto that person's hand
He or she may not be so gracious tomorrow
Live every moment here to your heart's content
The time that is here may not be tomorrow
Taking the shadow of your eyelashes, when someone comes near
You try to reason with your crazy heart
Your heart just goes on beating
But think, that which is here now
That story may not be here tomorrow
Amongst my illustrations, this is the one I am most proud of.
I get mesmerized by the look in his eyes, mirror of his soul.
Seemingly a flower whose petals submerge a room,
I feel enamored by the beauty of my own imagination
and imagine the beads in his ears sounding rhythmic percussions
taking me back to joyous days
filled with innocence, youth and love
three elements that are no longer in my waking life.
Let me tell you a story.
I was born in the summer, precisely the summer of August 1991.
I was born in France, but the months following my birth I was brought to Africa, Cameroon.
I grew up in Cameroon, a country rich in culture & couture seasoned with bold and colorful rites.
Somehow I was never very much into those rites.
I found them scary, and for the most part of my life in Cameroon I was scared.
My fears rendered me unable to explore my own culture, and it's only now at almost 27 years old that i am willing to explore.
A few months ago I came across the picture of a woman, and I remember being both mesmerized & astounded.
I was mesmerized by her untypical beauty & astounded by her body modifications.
She was wearing gauges in the most unexpected place, her mouth.
I always thought gauges were an occidental concept.. an imagery of the caucasian craziness.
Seeing her reminded me of my own culture, and as I saw I realized that despite not trying to get closer to my traditional rites, I knew them but somehow managed to bury them somewhere hidden even to myself in the abyss of my consciousness.
With some research, I discovered that this woman and that particular rite belongs to the Suma & Mursi Tribes; They can be found in Southern Ethiopia, precisely in the Omo Valley.
She was staring straight into my soul as if saying "Bond, James Bond". She is Woman, Mursi Woman.
You're so like the lady with the mystic smile,
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there
Do you smile to tempt a lover?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Are you warm, are you real Mona Mursi,
or just a figment of my imagination?
I saw her and she hit me like Tadow
She was so sublime
She was never lying
All that confidence wasn't heaven-sent
Does it come within?
Does it come run out?
In 2010 i wrote a poem about a rose.
That rose was an imagery of my personality & being and it went something like this.
I am a rose, a dark rose
but only my name presents darkness
I am a rose, a dark rose isn't that sublime?
both colors combined present an oxymoron and as such my existence also divine
I cry, often
river, of thorns
thorn my heart, as such I am thorn between existing and living
constantly, simultaneously, intrisecally.
Cantankerous, dark, saturnine
within me a feeling that was, and is no longer but provokes nevertheless fear & awe
Suddenly a light and a hint of warmth seemingly a sweet misfortune
Yes as if tomorrow, I remember
when the morning dew
At dawn, when the crepuscule had gone far, far away
At dawn, then, I will count you,
What will be the end of me
enamored of you I was
my mind radiant, luminous
***Honestly this poem doesn't make much sense in English***
Speech is Silver,
Silence is Golden..
What of Innocence?
I designed this for a competition Feb 2016 which I unfortunately failed.
I was trying to portray my mom’s love on a shoe, hoping to win so as to have her wear my acknowledgment of her love.
I didn’t win, but I hope to one day make this shoe come to life, and have her wear it.
These are the words she said to me one night, as I was confessing my deepest burden.
I love you mom.
P.S: As I look at this illustration, I can’t help but notice what tremendous amount of progress I made. I feel proud. I illustrate/Draw much better, however, I can’t help but fall in love with the rawness & innocence of this illustration.