Homenaje póstumo en el Centro Cultural Español de Malabo al escultor Fernando Nguema, “El Hombre que sabía demasiado”
Posthumous homage in the Spanish Cultural Center of Malabo for the sculptor Fernando Nguema, “The Man Who Knew Too Much”
The Spanish Cultural Center of Malabo has presented this week the medium-length film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, directed by the Spanish filmmaker, Pere Ortín. This film is dedicated to the Equatoguinean sculptor who died before his time, Fernando Nguema Medja, also known in the artistic environment as “the man of the forest” or “Papi”. At the end of the showing of the film, the public asked the filmmaker various questions, and received the pertinent answers.
Also on the afternoon of July 22, an exhibit was inaugurated with some of the works of the memorable sculptor that speak for themselves of his creative greatness.
The images of the documentary presented the deceased artist in the revealing world of his genius, for example, in the ancestral forest of his home town that, according to the screenwriter, is where he communicated with the spirits in order to obtain the raw materials with which to make his works: roots and trunks of trees. With them, the sculptor expressed his impressions about the past such as: Nnanah Ngô’ô Baah, La tristeza, La vida y la muerte, El bien y el mal, Dios y el universo, etc. For this he had to cross the Múmuh river that runs into the Wele (also known as the Mbini or Benito) in Aya’ntaan, the border between the districts of Micomeseng and Niefang.
The most emotional part of the film is the scene where Nguema Medja laments the fact that at present wisdom and the wise are little valued, contrary to their ancestors veneration, with which they were aware of being able to transmit their legacy to future generations: “...Here, for example, there is no art school... Because art is not valued”. – the artist sometimes said.
The nearest relatives of Fernando Nguema Medja were present in all the acts of homage to him that have been carried out by the Spanish Cultural Center of Malabo: his brother Melchor Nchada Medja and his children, Marcos Ondo Nguema Obono, Rosalía Medja Nguema Obono and Juan Matogo Nguema Obono. His widow was absent due to the death of her father a few days ago.
Shortly before beginning the projection of the documentary, the informative and biographical catalog of the sculptor was distributed to those present.
Brief biography of Fernando Nguema Medja:
He was born in the town of Engong-Esamengón, district of Micomeseng, town of Nkue in the province of Kie-Ntem, in the year 1963. From the time he was small, through the teachings of his uncle and of the sculptor Antonio Edu, he camen into contact with the carving of traditional instruments, the preparation of Balele masks and other arts of the Fang tradition. In 1979 he emigrated to the Republic of Gabon due to the rigidity of Macías’ regime. There he met the person who would be his true teacher and mentor, the Gabonese Obian Jean, with whom he evolved and grew artistically. After this teaching, he returned to Equatorial Guinea after eight months, already converted into a great artist.
Between 1989 and 1990 Fernando Nguema went to Malabo with his family to look for work: he found it in a cacao plantation in Luba. In 1991 he contacted the Hispano-Guinean Cultural Center of Malabo where he consolidated his relations with art and the Spanish Cooperation, which he considered very close and fruitful in that he could participate in numerous national and international shows, and in various artistic courses and workshops.
Nguema was the multi-faceted and multiform artist that also felt a passion for music, especially for the xylophone or mendjang, song and dance (he was a member of the group Mbatua), as well as for ceramics and painting, arts that he altered throughout his life, until his life ended on January 4, 2008, in the city of Malabo, at his home in the Semu district.
Main shows and awards obtained
1986: Show in the Art Fair of Bata.
1987: Naif Art Show in Ivory Coast.
1991: Fourth Biennial of Bantú Art in Bata.
1993: Joint show in the Hispano-Guinean Cultural Center of Malabo.
1994: Show of the CECIBA, Brazzaville (Congo). First International Prize.
1996: Show in the ICEF (Cultural Institute of French Expression) Malabo.
1996: Show in the San José Spanish School in Seville (Spain).
1998: Show in the Casa de Vacas of Madrid.
1998: Show in Libreville, obtaining the Honor Award of the European Community.
1998: First prize of the Competition in the Hispano-Guinean Cultural Center of Malabo. 2002: Competition-show of sculptures in the CCE of Bata.
2007: Competition-show of sculptures in the CCE of Bata.
2007: Show in the Gas Plant of Punta Europa.
2007: Show in the ICEF of Malabo.
2007: Show in the ICEF of Malabo.
Who is Pere Ortín?
Pere Ortín is a reporter trained at the University of Barcelona. He has worked on the newspaper La Vanguardia, and has been presenter and reporter of Televisión Española for ten years. Currently he works independently and is dedicated to directing movies and documentaries, as well as to literature. He has produced and directed three films: “Mbini”, “Cazadores de Imágines” and “La niña blanca”.
The title chosen by Ortín for his documentary on Fernando Nguema, “El hombre que sabía demasiado” (“The Man Who Knew Too Much”) was inspired by the fact that the sculptor demonstrated to him his wisdom with words and works when he was with him in his native village of Engong-Esamengón. According to Ortín, Nguema understood well what he did and said; thanks to him, he learned many things that he would not have known. Pere Ortín compares the wisdom of Fernando with that of the whole tree, that by knowing the branch he is united to the roots, trunk, leaves, flowers and fruit.
As regards this joint homage with the Cultural Centers of Equatorial Guinea, for Ortín it is a moral and ethical duty with which he can return to Fernando Nguema a little of all that the latter taught him, including the attention that his family dedicated to him when he was with them in Engong-Esamengón.
Text: Patricio Meñe Micha Abeme
Equatorial Guinea’s Press and Information Office (D.G. Base Internet)