A Congolese artist named Dina Ekanga says she wants to teach her Congolese brothers and sisters what art is. In her efforts to teach art, Dina, just a wheeler who knows only how to hammer nails, decided to use these simple skills to inspire many.
Congolese Artist Using Nails in Her Art
Dina uses nails in her art to create images on aboard. Her inspiration to use nails in her art came from sculptures she saw at a museum. Her first impression of the sculptures was that they were very beautiful, and she couldn’t imagine how someone came up with such art. The National Museum of DRC in Kinshasa displays some of the sculptures that greatly inspired Dina.
What Inspired the Congolese Artist?
At the museum, various Nkisi Nkondi sculptures of the Kongo people are on display. The sculptures often show nails embedded into wooden figures, and this awoke the artist’s curiosity. Her discovery of the sculptures made her want to know everything about Nkisi Nkondi and the sculptures of justice displayed.
Dina says, discovering what the sculptures were all about revealed even things she didn’t know about herself before. The sculptures made her feel closer and more connected to her culture, her ancestors, and herself. This, she says, led her into discovering her identity even. As an artist, she wishes to share the same messages left by her ancestors in their art through her art as well. Dina now frequently visits the National Museum of DRC in Kinshasa to do her research. She can recharge her batteries at the museum and identify herself more to try and make her work evolve.
Art: The Nail and Hammer Representation
For Dina, each nail she uses in her art represents pain, suffering, an ambush. On the other hand, the hummer she uses to make her art represents the difficulties in life. She believes that human beings have to fight to be as strong as a nail in life, no matter the weight of the hammer.
Inclusion of Scarification in Some of Her Pieces
As an artist, Dina Ekanga does not hesitate to include even scarification in some of her pieces. Countless of Congolese citizens criticize her art due to some of this inclusion of scarification in her art. Many people say that the act of scarification hurt and it was torture and made people ugly and that they shouldn’t be constantly reminded of it.
However, Dina sees the act of scarification as a means in which her ancestors sent a message. She states that back in the day, scarification was part of her ancestor’s beauty, just like how in modern times now how ladies put on lipstick or makeup.
Congolese artist’s agenda in life
Dina seeks the support of her Congolese brothers and sisters. She believes that as she continues to discover and learn more about her culture and art and its values, she will be in a better position to share this knowledge she’s learned. This knowledge she believes will help her achieve her ultimate goal of teaching not only Congolese people but also the African people what art is and how to love it. Dina wishes to take away the fear of art that people have.