Culture & Art from Central Africa

Dedza Diocese – Mua Parish

Claude Boucher & Patricio Tambala Mponyani – Creatures of the Air

Malawi – Dedza District – Mua Parish   The East wall of the church is adorned with a broad wall painting in three distinct bands, which depict Creation as it inhabits air, land and lake. Here we see, fluttering into the heights of the church, a hoopoe, a blue pigeon, a whistling duck, butterflies, an…

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Jibu Sani – Altar (Life & Death)

Malawi – Dedza District – Mua Parish   This remarkable altar must count among Jibu Sani’s masterpieces. God is depicted as lightning, containing within Himself the cycle of human life and death. The contrast between God’s power without (the body of the altar) and human weakness within is striking. We see Man’s descent from sky…

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Jibu Sani – Processional Cross

Malawi – Dedza District – Mua Parish   Here we illustrate a simpler piece – by an artist whose acquaintance with Claude Boucher goes back to the earliest days of Kungoni Centre. Jibu Sani came from Zomba to become one of its first established artists and he taught his art to his large family, which…

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Leonard Chikasasa – Creation

Malawi – Dedza Diocese – Mua Parish – Parish Church   Leonard Chikasasa’s association with Claude Boucher predates the establishment of Kungoni Centre in 1976. This panel, together with his fine depiction of the Risen Christ, were originally the only decorative devices in the parish church. Against a characteristic background of geometric patterns, applied directly…

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Thomas Mpira – Lectern (Holy Trinity)

Malawi – Dedza Diocese – Mua Parish – Parish Church   This is the first example (in this collection) of a number of intricately carved wooden lecterns by the artists of Kungoni Centre that have found their way to churches around the world. Here Thomas Mpira reflects on the creative power of the Holy Trinity…

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Ismael Mulera – Mother & Child

Malawi – Dedza Diocese – Mua Parish – Parish Church   It is appropriate that an image of Mother & Child should stand at the front of the church on the side where the women sit. At Mary’s feet rests a mtondo: the mortar for pounding maize, which represents the life of the household. It…

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Claude Boucher & Patricio Tambala Mponyani – Women’s Work

Malawi – Dedza Diocese – Mua Parish – Parish Church   These wall paintings are applied to the side of the church where the women sit and evoke their world. This has a double effect: even though in the presence of God, the congregation does not feel too far removed from its usual setting, and…

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James Samikwa – God Our Mother

Malawi – Dedza Diocese – Mua Parish – Parish Church   High over the nave of the church hangs James Samikwa’s depiction of God Our Mother. God – Chauta (one of several Chewa names for God) is depicted, as often in Kungoni art, concealed behind a mask, which suggests here a smiling mother who extends…

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