Franck Kemkeng Noah

b. 1992, Congo

Le Kounga au Vatican, 2021
Acrylic on canvas

Image courtesy African Arty gallery, Morocco, France, & the artist
Noah’s practice as an artist appears to have initially centred on dance and live performance, so perhaps it is not unexpected that he has become known in a short space of time for a series of paintings depicting subjects engaged in a performance or dance. Typically, the performers he depicts are masked, appearing like spirits or dancers evoking their ancestors. They are also, as in this work, situated in important and recognisable centres of Western art – outside the Louvre, and in this work inside the Vatican. In this way the artist brings to mind the notion that these beings are ‘haunting’ western centres. This could refer to a colonial legacy that has yet to be fully dissected or confronted or a reversal of the manner in which western art ‘haunts’ perceptions or readings of African art and performance.