Byb Chanel Bibene presents Nkisi Nkondi: A Divine Sculpture from Central Africa, a public talk which reveals the lesser known functions of the minkisi minkondi, the sacred statues found in the great kingdom of Kongo, central Africa. The minkisi were power figures used by individuals, families, or whole communities to destroy or weaken evil spirits, prevent or cure illnesses, repel bad deeds, solemnize contracts or oath taking, and resolve disputes. A diviner or holy person would activate the statue, using magical substances. In this presentation, Bibene draws a portrait of Central Africa before and after colonization, with social, political, and religious implications. The talk precedes a demonstration of a few dances that served as support in the process of calling for the divine spirits to inhabit the body of the sculptures, as practiced by the Kongo people.
Byb Chanel Bibene is a dance instructor, researcher, choreographer and performer working in theater and contemporary dance. His own technical and aesthetic sensibility is rooted in the culture and dances of his country of origin, the Republic of Congo. He has toured the world and performed internationally with companies and choreographers originating from Africa, England, France and the USA. Artistic Director of Kiandanda Dance Theater, Bibene initiated Mbongui Square festival, a multidisciplinary arts festival that gathers dance, music, spoken word and visual artists from the Bay Area and across the world. Outside of his professional careers of Theater and Dance, Bibene has a passion for writing. He is author of numerous poetry and shorts. Bibene owns a Bachelor in Science, Economics/Finances from Marien Ngouabi University/Brazzaville, an MFA in Dance and a certificate in Dance Production Management from Saint Mary’s College of California. For more info, visit https://www.kiandanda-dance.com