Interview with Fanny Bienga, Young Artist Participating in the ResiliArt/International Jazz Day Exchange in Newark

Fanny Bienga, also known as Paula, is an artist-painter born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1998 and a refugee from the UNHCR in Angola. She recently became the mother of a baby girl named Andrea, who is now 10 months old.
Deux cultures - Fanny Bienga

1. How did you join the ResiliArt Angola project? How has it benefited you as an artist?

It is thanks to UNESCO that I am among the participants of this wonderful project that is ResiliArt Angola. 

It all started with a call I received one evening around 8pm. A man approached me to propose that I participate in ResiliArt Angola, telling me that other young Angolan artists would participate. I immediately told him that I was interested. My baby was only two months old at the time!

The exposure at the international level is an opportunity for me to showcase my art to the whole world.

2. What does art mean to you? How does art contribute to peace and dialogue, and what role do artists play in this?

Art helps me to express things that I never had the courage to tell other people. This is reflected in my paintings for example in Ma vie privée révélée; Le Masque; and Le Volcan Goma 2021...

Art offers me a platform to express myself and contributes to the promotion of a new culture of peace for the youth. Art encourages youth to participate in dialogue for conflict resolution. The objective of this initiative is for the artist to promote peace by painting a message for peace.

La Vie - Fanny Bienga
Le Foulard - Fanny Bienga
Fanny Bienga
Ma vie privée révélée - Fanny Bienga

3. Where do you draw your inspiration for your paintings? What drives you on a daily basis?

I get a lot of inspiration from the reality of the world around us, and especially by the African woman and children around the world.  This can be seen in the painting Rire en éclat, where there are not only African children. The love I feel for my daughter pushes me to contribute to the well-being of all children. To me, children are precious.

4. What is the added value of the cultural exchange set up by ResiliArt Angola with the city of Newark?

The exchange in Newark will benefit me a lot on a personal and artistic level. On a personal level I still need support. Artistically, my name is now among the greatest artists (laughs). I am very happy to have this opportunity, and I thank UNESCO and the ResiliArt Angola project.

5. What advice would you like to pass on to other young people who want to join the artistic industry?

First, love your work and you will succeed and overcome any obstacle that comes your way in your artistic life.  I often say this, but we black Africans show little interest for art, and a lot more should be done in that regards. That is why I call for patience and send good wishes to my future colleagues. We will succeed together. May God bless you.