Congoleese inspiration

arantza spikar

“Healing” is a series of portraits inspired by African fetish sculptures.

The inspiration to pierce the portraits with hundreds of rusty nails arrived after seeing so called “Minkondis”. They are religious idols made by the Congo people, used to protect villages from evil powers. The villagers¬†also hammer nails into the idols to awaken the spirits that lives inside, to ask for help or healing. They are sometimes called “Thief finders” since they can be used to track down enemies.

The Nkondis are made by the villages religious specialist who collects various objects and turns them into homes for spirits. Often in the shape of a human. To charge the nkondi with spiritual powers, the religious specialist either let himself become possessed or place it in a graveyard to allow the spirits to move in. When the sculpture is inhabited he hands it over to the client.

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