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Wanda's Picks Special featuring curator, Constantine Petridis and Muisi-kongo Malonga

  • Broadcast in Art
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Art and Power opened this weekend at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Curator, Constantine Petridis's exhibition looks at the linguistic and aesthetic and cultural linkages between the four distinct African civilizations stemming from Bantu origins: Luba, Songye, Chokwe, and Luluwa. In the exhibit featuring rare work from throughout the country and the world he proposes that the connection between art and spirit are often invisible, that there is no separation, that the power inherent in the nkisi or bearer of potions used to invoke or call the spirit into being to help or assist the community or person is more the rule rather than the exception. These 59 sculptures from the Central African Savanna show us images of the people who lived then, who centuries later, despite colonial enslavement, reflect us now in the dress, the perception of beauty and in the powerful spirit these art pieces, even robbed or emptied of their potions, still possess. Also joining us this morning is Muisi-kongo Malonga, Artistic Director of Fua Dia Congo, which has a new work premiering the final week, June 27-28 at the Ethnic Dance Festival at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The dance which comes from Central Africa, the place where Dr.Petridis did field study for six months, and where many of these pieces originate, is in the news a lot for its decades long battle with international exploitation, bloodshed, rape as a weapon of war, and displacement of people trying to escape the terror. Kongo-Kintourari links, Muisi-kongo says, the ancient spelling of Kongo and the word kintouri, a Kikongo word meaning "unity." The dance is a symbolic call for unity in the region. Whether it is Muisi-kongo's work with the all women dance company she founded, Diata Diata, "KOngo Odysssey," at the company's 25th Anniversary Concert, or the annual Congolese Drum and Dance Camp in July, she always includes this element--unity, unity between Africans and African Americans, unity betwee