currently researching african animation : interested in compiling a database of practitioners in various sub-saharan countries : welcome any postings from practitioners

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Documentary Educational Resources: Guest Article

I recently contributed to the DER (Documentary Educational Resources) website with an article/ interview with Jean Michel Kibushi. For those who are not familiar with the Congolese stop-motion/animation director here is a short biographical introduction.

Although widely considered a pioneering artist in the field of stop-motion and animation in Central Africa, J. M. Kibushi Ndajte Wooto is an understated man. Always measured and philosophical in his approaches to his art, his films are a reflection of this. That stop-motion is his medium of choice is not incidental. This process requires absolute control of every minutiae and such conscious and considered treatment of the image frame. Moreover Jean Michel is not only an artist in his own right, but critically a cultural proponent for the DRC, a curator and historian for animation from the region.

Kibushi was born in 1957 in Lubefu in the Kasai Oriental region, and grew up in Tshumbe in the DRC. His background is in drama and cinematography with an education from Kinshasa's National Institute of the Arts (INA) between 1985 and 1989. In 1991, he made his first stop-motion film of a Tetela tale, Le Crapaud Chez Ses Beaux-Parents. He was isolated in his endeavours as the only animation artist in the DRC at the time. Nevertheless, he continued making work inspired by local narrative whether fictional or real, as in the documentary animation Septembre Noir (1992).  Perhaps it was this solitary experience that drove him to become an agent of change, promoting the development of animation amongst local artists in the region. As Studio Malembe Maa he continues to undertake socially motivated work with more of an educational and developmental agenda, through creative workshops with young people using local storytelling and theatre and the Caravan Sankuru (a mobile-cinema that travelled the Sankuru region that would otherwise have no access to film or animation).

You can read the article here: and more importantly you can purchase a DVD of his collected films on DER. 

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