Kungoni Art Project - Malawi

Leonard Chikasasa – Risen Christ

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Malawi - Dedza District - Mua Parish

 

Christ is depicted on a background of geometrical patterns forming a cross not crucified but risen. He wears a large cloth-like priestly garment that suggests a traditional rain priest, i.e. a shrine officiant in the Mbewecaste. Christ is chief priest; and the detail of the priestly garment, like the Shield of Achilles, depicts the entirety of the world that he represents to the Father: the activities of men and women and the duties of adults and children, what is appropriate to different days of the week (work and prayer) and seasons of the year (sowing and harvesting). The contrasts are adornments of the unchanging person of God the son, and by extension of the whole Holy Trinity. There is also a touch of Medieval humour on this work of seminal importance for Kungoni art: hidden away behind the figure is a depiction of the dachshund that was the companion of the Parish Priest of the day, Fr. Georg Messer. That too belongs to the Creation that is brought by Christ to God.

 

This is the first depiction of the human form in the round both by Leonard Chikasasa and (quite possibly) in Malawi art. Just a few years earlier Leonard Chikasasa had been engaged in the craft that gave him his nickname, Mr. Kamitondo (Mr. Little Mortars).

 

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Artist: Leonard Chikasasa

Title: Risen Christ

Date: 1972

Themes: Christ, Church Furniture, Passion, Resurrection

Source: Vidi

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