The craftsman who uses wood to depict Cabinda

Domingos Maria Zumbua and some of his works

Domingos Maria Zumbua and some of his works

  |  J.A.

Domingos Maria Zumbua seeks to capture Cabinda's universe in wood. One of the most striking pieces displayed at Festi-Kongo was a miniature version of Bakamas, a traditional outfit consisting of leaves and a mask, which evokes the traditions of the country's northernmost region.

Born in Mbanza Kongo, Domingos Maria Zumbua found in Cabinda the perfect place to display his craftsmanship. The works he presented at Festi-Kongo were much appreciated and sparked a lot of comments - especially for someone who is little known in the art world and in the highly visible handcraft universe.
"Bakamas are important as a welcome gesture," says 43-year-old Domingos Maria Zumbua. "Because of their importance, they are part of our cultural heritage. We produce them for fairs and other events upon commission, because many tourists want to have them as souvenirs" he said, adding that Cabinda art is highly valued.
One of the most striking pieces displayed at Festi-Kongo depicts women carrying children on their backs, masks, and the 'soba' -- the traditional sovereign entity, which, according to the artisan, has the mission of maintaining stability local in villages. "The 'soba' is always present in our works, because it's the entity that solves problems and maintains balance in our communities."
Zumbua's female-themed works displayed at the fair include Ntepe, a mother who carries wood and a baby on her back, and a fishmonger mother who struggles to sell her fish and feed her children.

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