In a recently released book by Imago Mundi (Image of the World) featuring contemporary artists from Liberia and Sierra Leone and titled: “Liberia and Sierra Leone: The Everyday Struggle”, art has again proved that it epitomizes the Liberian society and can be used as a valuable asset that could promote not only tourism but also help restore appreciation for Liberian arts, especially following the country’s civil war.
The Imago Mundi is a collection of artwork commissioned and collected by the Italian billionaire Luciano Benetto, who has traveled around the world on a voluntary basis to promote art. Imago Mundi has participated in more than 30 countries since being founded in 1987.
The organization promotes cultural, democratic and global projects that look to new and expanding art frontiers, helping create coexistence in expression and diversity. It’s goal is to catalogue works, inspirations and ideas that could give to future generations the widest possible breadth and depth of the human situation at the start of the third millennium.
With this in mind, this collection embodies a range of world culture and has become a common mode of artistic expression, creating a path that has allowed contemporary Liberian and Sierra Leonean artists to explore various aspects of their culture and also of their individual styles.
Moataz El. Safty, Coordinator of the Imago Mundi project and founder of the Egyptian Artist Network (ENA) said the objective of the collection in Liberia was to introduce Liberian artists, displaying the nature of contemporary Liberian arts through Imago Mundi, which aims at presenting clear images, among other images of art from around the world. He said the rapid response from the artists and their interest in implementing the project was awesome.
In the first place this is not just an exhibition, this is an
artistic collaboration that spans across continents, says Leslie Lumeh, Executive Director Liberia Visual Arts Academy (LIVARTS). “I am so happy that Liberia
is a part of this collaboration; for the very first time you have a project beyond one country in Liberia, with a database of 72 Liberian artists, some of whom are professionals and up-and-coming artists.”
“We will always do our very best as artists, but to restore the lost classical Liberian art is a task for our government,” Leslies said. “ They need to reintroduce the teaching of basic arts into our elementary schools, which is not evident in the absence of trained artists.”
He said art is alive today in Liberia owing to the willingness of these artists to promote Liberian culture. Many of these artists are self-trained and open-minded; willing to shared what they have learned either through experience, from research or from collaborating with local artists or those from abroad.
The Imago Mundi project in Liberia was held from July 7 -27 2014 and was done in collaboration with the Liberian Visual Arts Academy LIVARTS.
A number of professional Liberian artists attending the project included Charles Dickson, Frank Dwuye, Mansa Molton Mason and Abu Fofana.
Also in attendance was Saah H.M. Bundoo II, a student at LIVARTS. He said that art is a medium to express different feelings and emotions and hopes that one day every one will speak the language of art.
“ To me art is history because it can be used to tell what happened in the past, so when you create art, you build history,” Emmanuel Yekeh said.
Leslie, for his part, said that “As an artist, I have always expressed my thoughts and creativity through visual art, which is seen in the artworks I create,” adding, “I want to thank my fellow Liberian artists – including my own students at the Liberia Visual Arts Academy LIVARTS that saw this vision and help make it a reality, and to our many sponsors for their support to LIVARTS.”