By Nii B. Andrews

The work of Bodys Isek Kingelez remains under appreciated and somewhat unknown.

However during his lifetime, he pursued a peculiar vision which he developed to near technical and artistic perfection.

His miniature architectural models demonstrated meticulous detail and were punctuated with bursts of color that left a lasting impression on the viewer.

Kingelez produced whole miniature cities with exquisitely detailed multiculturally referenced buildings by just working with the simplest materials- cardboard, wood and plastic.

Far from evoking child like fantasies, his models instead spoke to us of a more humane, just, inclusive and considerate world; not an utopia which certainly does not exist anywhere – but a better world which would not dent our faith and hope in a great future.

Others have seen in his models an indictment of the failures that beset post independence Africa and specifically, the tragedy that became the Congo.

Kingelez’s pieces were featured in many important exhibitions on several continents to great reviews.

So finally, New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has decided to have a retrospective devoted to the work of Kingelez.

It is scheduled for next year; from May 26–October 21, 2018.

And it will be the first ever solo show of a Black African artist at MoMA.

Hooray…..sarcasm alert.

Drum roll…… one corner dance please….but only for 30 seconds!

Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948–2015) was born in the village of Kimbembele-Ihunga, Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire).

He was a self-trained artist who started out as a museum conservator before he began to create his wonderful architectural miniatures.

He stated, “I must set a good example by receiving the light which pure art, this vital human instrument, kindles for the sake of all.

Thanks to my deep hope for a happy tomorrow, I strive to better my quality, and the better becomes the wonderful.

I exhibit a mode of expression which fits me like a glove…..”.



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