You arrived in Italy in 2012 to study mosaic at the Ravenna Academy of Fine Arts, but your project was to devote yourself to ceramics. Tell us about your training and why you chose to become a ceramist.
In reality, I didn't think of becoming a potter; it was the charm of clay that inspired me. It all began in 2007 when I went to the Art school of Mbalmayo, in Cameroon, for an admission test to the painting course. Visiting the ceramic workshop, I was struck by the beauty of the objects on display and above all by the possibilities that the material offered both in terms of freedom of expression and job opportunities. After graduating, I decided to continue my studies in Italy at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ravenna where I obtained the three-year diploma in mosaic, and then I attended the two-year sculpture course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In 2013 I joined the ITS of Faenza and in 2015 I obtained a diploma as a technician for the design and prototyping of ceramic products.
What value did the experience with the Cologni Foundation have, as part of the "A School, a Job" project?
"A School, a Job" was a project that allowed me to attend the studio of Bertozzi & Casoni, two great artists who gave me the opportunity to work on important projects. This project allowed me to immediately invest in my artistic research.
You have been running your business for about two years now. Why did you make this choice? Tell us about your entrepreneurial adventure.
I would not call it an entrepreneurial adventure, because I simply did what makes me happy, that is to have a personal and intimate space in which to create my works. I have never considered it in terms of business. It was not easy to get started and to tell the truth I wasn't even sure I could do it, but with courage I decided to face my perplexities because I believe that in life you should never have regrets.
Your style is truly unique and particular: the influence of African art and visual culture is evident in your works. What is your artistic research based on and what are the themes you are interested in communicating?
The main object of my artistic research is the condition of the contemporary African man, alienated and suffering due to an unresolved past of enslavement and exploitation. My works are charged with energy through the use of primary forms and vibrations of bright colours, which contrast with the invisibility and contempt to which the black body is too often subject in the Western world. Works that recall the generating force of the earth mix with others that represent the globalized world in which we live in a metaphorical key. Another visible constant in my works is the attention to spirituality and the human soul.
What do you love most about your job?
I really love the moment of communion with matter, that magical moment when I freeze my idea in clay. I find that waiting for the result until the oven opens is also electrifying: the anxiety and emotion are indescribable.