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Masela Nkolo

"One of the effects of the Congo Civil war meant lack of electricity. This led to the necessity of oil lanterns. Initially, as a child, I repaired lanterns for the neighborhood as a means of income. As I began developing artistically, I started collecting old lanterns, deconstructing, and transforming them into creatures to represent human beings and personal experiences. What started off as a necessity of life became my inspiration and a form of artistic expression for me."

 

Masela Nkolo is a multidisciplinary artist residing in Atlanta. He was born in Kinshasa, Congo, and started out exhibiting on the streets, alongside other artists. Together, they called their movement, “Neo-ngongisme” and they had goals of awakening the consciences of the population through arts. 

 

Masela graduated in Fine Arts, with an emphasis in large-scale sculpture from The Academy of Fine Arts in Congo. His work has currently been featured in Moca GA, and The Mint Museum, Uptown Charlotte, NC.

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Artistic Statement

My current work revolves around my personal experience, notions of good and evil, truth, and the cycles of death and life are my areas of exploration. I draw cultural inspiration from traditional African art like Kongo, Luba, Kuba, Yaka, and  Maasai. By combining different materials and ideas from the past and present, I merge them together to create and portray unseen individuals' worlds that are within this world, which is Trans-syncretism, my genre of expression. 

 

My work consists of deconstructing oil lanterns, and bike wheels and reconstructing them into small animal-like creatures, masks, aliens, or robots. I use these creatures to represent human beings. My depictions of small animals, masks, aliens, or robots act as metaphors for human behavior. Through this new stage of my research, I wanted to bring a color dimension to my de-structured and monochrome lantern. This new touch of color is a definition that fits perfectly with the new direction of the artist's work.