By exploring the diversity of landscapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, artist Léonard Pongo offers an allegorical imagery of the country. Imbued with a sense of magical beauty and mystical power, the landscape seen through his eyes becomes a setting to rebuild the self, and the earth becomes the source of an awareness from which tradition, philosophy and conceptions of the universe emerge. For Léonard Pongo, exploring the environment, as well as sensory experience, are pathways to an emerging vision of the world – it is by becoming one with the landscape that it becomes possible to engage with life.
Drawing inspiration from Congolese traditions and Kasaian cultures, Primordial Earth: Inhabiting the Landscape presents the landscape as a character with its own will and power, like an open book that tells the story of humanity and the planet, with Congo at its centre.
It is an approach that has a particular resonance today, at a time when the ecosystem is under threat.