Posters, Popular Painting and Animation: The Inkale Theme
Quite a while ago I was chatting to my friend Paula who is conducting her doctoral research on African animation. Reading through the draft for an article and discussing a work by Jean Michel Kibushi of the Democratic Republic of Congo I was struck by an illustration: I was hundred percent sure I had seen the same or an iconographically closely related painting at Sabon Kwakwaci Garage in Kano. How exciting I thought. And a few weeks ago, flicking through a volume on African Posters I just happened to come across an illustration of a very similar scene by R. Nwonta of CAS Creation, Janual Caeli Marketing,
When it comes to my research I seem to react like a toddler who first discovers the world around herself – so yes, I still think that is exciting and, hence, will bother you not only with the illustrations (not of Paula’s article though, sorry) but also with the little information I have been able to find about the so-called Inkale theme.
Wendelin Schmidt, one of the editors of the volume Plakate in Afrika that accompanied a 2005 exhibition at the Museum der Weltkulturen, Frankfurt a.M., and later the same year at the Iwalewa House, Bayreuth, writes with regard to the motif (my quick translation):
‘ … Many calendars draw upon the tradition of sign painters. These don’t conceive of themselves as commercial painters only but also as artist who, in addition to the business, paint pictures in order to articulate their fantasies as well as to visualize discourses about political, social and religious themes. Popular is the Inkale theme which is widespread in Africa (e.g. Congo-Zaire and
(Schmidt 2005: ‘Populaerkultur und visuelle Kommunikation: Plakat-“Kunst” in Ghana und Nigeria. In: Schmidt & Kramer, eds.: Plakate in Afrika. Frankfurt a.M.: Museum der Weltkulturen. 32-35)
This is what Bogumil Jewsiewicki had to say with regard to the Inkale theme.
Un autre tableau [de Tshibumba] utilise l’icône d’inkale pour faire dialoguer l’événement et le sens partagé du monde. L’inkale, qui signifie l’impasse, est une icône représentant une personne prise en étau entre la sorcellerie (le crocodile), l’État (un prédateur, lion ou léopard selon la version) et le péché chrétien (le serpent). Dans le tableau en question, Tshibumba place les exploitants de diamants dans la position du personnage, les soldats dans celle du lion, et un hélicoptère est substituéau serpent.
(Bogumil Jewsiewicki, 2001: ‘Pour un Pluralisme Epistemologique en Sciences Sociales.’ In: Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales. Vol. 2001/3. 634)
As this is kind of a digressionf rom the actual focus of my research, I haven't yet dug anyt deeper for further information on this particular theme - so if anybody can contribute anything, I'd be very grateful. But for now, let's leave it here and ... well, you enjoy the illustrations I go back writing on my PhD.