Cinga Samson is an African artist born in 1986 in Cape Town. Art has always been his passion, through his works he wants to give another image of Africa, which most of the times many people ignore.
“It seems as if Africa is this kid in the class with special needs: “Don’t say anything bad about Africa”, “Shame poor Africa” – but outside the class no one takes him seriously
How was your passion for art born? Tell us something about yourself.
I’ve always been passionate about crafting and keeping myself busy working on projects. Overtime, thanks to my practice and the development of my ideas I understood that I had to work on this stuff. Then, it became more meaningful to some people, and I realized the impact that art could have. I believe in people. More specifically I believe in the people of this continent, and I feel that the entire world should too.
What do you want to convey with your paintings, with your art?
The excellence of the African continent, its power. My interest is to change this old image of Africa. You know the one of the charity situations – it seems as if Africa is this kid in the class with special needs: “Don’t say anything bad about Africa”, “Shame poor Africa” – but outside the class no one takes him seriously. This portrayal of Africa is something that is annoying and that we are changing. The images in my works carry the threat that without Africa’s liberation the world will never be free.
“I believe in the people of this continent, and I feel that the entire world should too”
Do you take inspiration from any particular source to realize your works?
I don’t have one single source of inspiration. I don’t focus on particular fields or aspects, I draw inspiration by impulse and instinct.
My mind is always flowing, I really don’t have time to look for exact moments of inspiration. Most of what you see now are old ideas, 2 or 3 years old that take time to process and come to light. By that point I am working on something different. I love working on multiple projects at the same time.
I guess all the stories regarding resilience and triumph inspire me, not so much to create my artworks, but rather to believe in myself and my ideas.
I notice that in most of your paintings you use dark colors, is there any reason?
The choice of colors is always based on (the thought) “does it fit?” – I am very serious about that.
“I don’t focus on particular fields or aspects, I draw inspiration by impulse and instinct. My mind is always flowing, I really don’t have any time to look for exact moments of inspiration”
“Everything is by impulse and instincts. My mind is always flowing, I really don’t have any time to look for moments of inspiration”
What is one of the greatest satisfactions you have achieved so far?
None, everything is “late”. Since I was 25 I have been doing matured works; I was ready to be acknowledged. This means that everything now is 10 years behind schedule. It makes it hard to be grateful or satisfied with whatever might happen on now. This job does not need approval, but I push to gain any positions I can to be able to produce more. In figurative oil painting right now – or any medium of painting - we struggle to see anyone who is producing better works than us.
Somehow it seems that African artists are always late. We have very few big artists are presented on the international stage at the beginning of their career. The international world seems to have this obsession with Africa as an emerging one. I’m clear that this has nothing to do with talent. Non-talented artists are supported elsewhere. Talent is always an equal ratio and any suggestion to the opposite is ridiculous. It has to do with looking and who is looking and to whom they are being generous. We aren’t looking for generosity but at the same time it is clear to see where that generosity is being placed.
As African artists we are always shown the works of American or European giants. In a continent of more than 1 billion. That is ridiculous. This cannot satisfy us, what can be satisfying in that?
Anyway, I really feel blessed and grateful for still being alive… I am grateful everyday to spend time with my team, to work together and to be together.
“I guess all the stories regarding resilience and triumph inspire me, not so much to create my artworks, but rather to believe in myself and my ideas.”
Are you working on something new now?
Yes, we are busy preparing the next bodies of work for a solo exhibition at blank projects in February of 2021, and at the FLAG Foundation in New York later in September.
Follow Cinga and his work on instagram.
Riccardo Aimerito & Sara Orlandini