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«One has to be initiated, be blessed with these internal eyes that, like an image, break through the walls.» — Léopold Sédar Senghor

Between the visible

and the invisible

by Filipa Duarte de Almeida

When a nganga applies make-up, he gradually disappears to leave room for his mukuku.  With each line he draws, white, red, black, the man ceases to be man and becomes spirit, ancestor, mythical hero.  The body then becomes a conduit for the manifestation of the invisible.  An ephemeral aesthetic existing only for a single precise moment but that paradoxically represents the permament, the eternal, and the infinite.


In the light of this spiritual thought, each one of these photographs transforms the supernatural into the material. And when the invisible becomes visible through the image revealed here, the imaginary that inhabits the Bwété becomes concrete. Far from this logic, far from this world where space is morphing and time is abolished, there, in the bush, between the smoke and dust kicked up by the nganga who dances to the rhythm of the drums, it is up to each one of us to choose our position with respect to these images: in front of or behind the walls of Senghor.


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