AFRIKING Exhibition : Children as Inheritors of Historical Cultural Objects

AFRIKING Exhibition : Children as Inheritors of Historical Cultural Objects

CAMEROON : AFRIKING is a project brought up by Dieudonne Djiela Kamnang that presents a child as successors of culture. Through this, he hopes to have continuity in the transmission of this heritage to the future generation. In order to make his work known, a painting exhibition was organized at the Institut Français du Cameroun (IFC) in Yaounde from the 13th of September to the 18th of October, 2022.

Art is a way of communication. It is present in pictures and paintings. Each colour and piece behind each painting on exposition at IFC, Yaounde, conveys a message which has to be appreciated together. As visitors make their way into the French Institute in Yaoundé, what mostly catch their attention are the fine colourful paintings of African children each holding a cultural object like masks, traditional pots or war equipment. They are made in such a way that, one might think it’s real. The brain behind these works of art is Dieudonne Djiela Kamnang, a master’s student in Plastic Arts at the University of Douala, Cameroon. He made it clear to us that, he was contacted by the Director of IFC, Yann Lorvo who proposed to him about showing off his works to the public. But why the name Afriking and why children? “I chose the name Afriking because I noticed that in our society today, we hardly consider children when making important decisions. Meanwhile traditionally, a child is a heritage holder. So with this program, I hope to renew the vision of children”, he explains. He uses acrylic, plastic, canvas, mate which is screen printing paint, tissue and linen.

Djiela Kamnang (in the middle) during the opening of the exhibition ©DR

The exhibition which is still in its first edition is seen to help Cameroon, African and the World in many ways. According Djiela Kamnang, this project can make the authorities in place rethink the educational system. “When I say rethink the educational system I simply mean that the people in charge can see how to integrate culture as one of the subjects taught in school. This is because, culture is a fundamental part of our lives”, he proposes. His work is an inspiration from an Argentinean phrase which means “Retour aux sources” which literally means “Back to my roots”.

Setback he faces

As a young painter, all is not going smooth for him because of the so many challenges he is facing. “My main challenge is organizing many exhibitions as possible whether here or outside so that many people can get to see my work. Another difficulty I have is that, my work is perturbed with evolution. Every day, artists come up with different projects and most a times, mine hides in the dark”, he regrets.

As the exhibition goes on, the young artist hopes to one day see his works of art in museums and galleries in and out of the country and to one day meet face to face with his well admired artist, Kehinde Wiley from America and get to feel his work as well.

Kuwan Chelsea Kernyuy (Trainee editor) ©

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