Madeleine Mbida (also known as Wilfried) is one of the exhibiting artists of ‘Sounds Like Her’ at York Art Gallery (York, England), an exhibition presenting works by women artists working with sound and music.
Mbida lives and work in Nkongsamba (Cameroon). She belongs to a new generation of Cameroonian artists whose practice explore local traditions with an innovative gaze. A graduate from the Institut des Beaux-Arts, Université de Douala (Nkongsamba), her work on Bikusti music began when she was studying under the internationally acclaimed Cameroonian artist Hervé Youmbi. For Mbida this work also has a very personal meaning. It is part of her enquiry about her own identity through that of her late father’s, who belonged to the Beti people. Her work bridges both personal history and collective cultural heritage. The four paintings presented in ‘Sounds Like Her’ explore Cameroon’s Bikutsi music and dance movements.
Two paintings of interlaced figures feature each a group of male and female dancers. The women are performing Bikutsi dance movements with their feet called ‘etegue meko’o‘, while the men are perform a hip movement, ‘etegue ankug’. Are also presented innovative chromatic combinations with red and green tonalities derived from Bikutsi’s quaternote tempo of 6/8 and 9/8 patterns. In these works, Mbida associates colour and music along the notions of rhythm, scale, pitch and bar.
Together those four paintings convey the abstract nature of music (or sound) in a schematic form. They also speak to the invisible process whereby music triggers a response through body movements that are a testimony to the persistence of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next.
An exhibition catalogue will be published end of September 2019, featuring works by Mbida and the other participating artists, Ain Bailey, Sonia Boyce OBE RA, Linda O’Keeffe, Christine Sun Kim, Elsa M’bala and Magda Stawarska-Beavan. ‘Sounds Like Her’ is a New Art Exchange touring exhibition curated by Christine Eyene.
Sounds Like Her
13 July – 15 Sept. 2019
York Art Gallery