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Kouka Ntadi

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Artist 247

Kouka Ntadi

Exploring Identity

Graffiti Painting

Kouka Ntadi (born 1981) is a Franco-Congolese painter and rapper. He specializes in installation painting using the world as his canvas.  He confront his origins in his work. By using different forms of portraiture, Kouka explores themes of Identity.

his painting plays with graffiti codes to better touch the heart of his search on the status of the image.His work "Bantu Warriors" marked his first singular urban imprint.

Ntadi speaks of his inspiration , “In the beginning they were very much inspired by the first European people coming to Africa, taking photos of the tribes to then conduct race classifications in France – so it’s very inspired by those ethnic photos. There are a lot of documents about the tribes, and the characters that I drew are Bantus – who are a group of tribes from south of the Sahara; Gabon, Congo, Cameroon – as these tribes traveled a lot to South Africa to find water. But really, because it’s a very old civilization, dating back to before Christ, they built Africa. Over time, both Arabs and Europeans enslaved them. So the image is a symbol of the first human.”

On the evolution of his work he explained, “When I was in Africa, I was shocked that there was no graffiti or graffiti culture, and I was always wanting to paint. ... I started to paint the warriors wherever I went. I began to really link the work of graffiti and canvas, and graffitied the Bantus in the streets. I didn’t do it on canvas, as for me it only meant something if it was in the street. On canvas it just looks like an ethnic painting.”

When asked about the reception his Bantus warriors got from the people of Congo Ntadi elaborates,

“They didn’t like it, because I think in the context of war it reminds them of the colonial past. I did a lot of them there but they were always erased.”

Despite this he continues, “It’s really the only place where I have problems with that – but I still go back and still paint there. It’s cool because painting in the street is a way to connect with people, meet them, and talk to them. If you do something, some people like it, other people don’t; but what’s important is to talk.”

Sources Consulted


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