Have You Seen Nkisi?


I’ve been in my new home for several weeks now, and can safely say that the majority of my boxes are unpacked, items have found their rightful place and what few boxes remain unpacked, I have at least gone through. After all this time, it only just came to my realization that I am missing one particular charcoal drawing, “Nkisi I”. That makes me a little sad that it has come up missing. I’m holding out hope that it will show up somewhere but my fear is that I may have inadvertently thrown it out along with a lot of other drawings I had no desire to keep. Losing it doesn’t devastate me, but it does make me unhappy. I am very good at blaming myself for things Done Gone Wrong, and this case is no different. I’m afraid “Nkisi I” bit the big one due to my own negligence. The good news is that I still have the original sculpture on which my drawing had been based. I had been fascinated with Nkisi Nkondi for a long time a while back. In a nutshell, they originated in the Congo region, and were used to invoke spirits for help by pounding nails in its surface. The ritual concept behind them as well as their nail-studded visual, strong stance and steady gaze all appeal to me. They’ve been widely collected in the past, and mine now resides in my studio office upstairs:

nkisi nkondi sculpture

So the drawing is gone, but my Nkisi is still here, and that is more important to me. But if you happen to see a vertically-proportioned, black-framed charcoal drawing of an Nkisi show up in your local flea market…grab it, hang it up and tell it I said hello.

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