Written by Esi Han
In a captivating encounter with renowned Tanzanian painter, Mr. Hendrick Lilinga, we delved into his journey as an artist and his artistic experiences during his third visit to Korea.
A maestro in capturing the essence of life and human emotions through vivid colors and diverse actions, his paintings have enthralled audiences worldwide. Let's dive into the story of this extraordinary artist who has found a home for his art in Korea. Details of the interview follow
Han: Mr. Lilinga, thank you for joining us today. It's an honor to have you here in Korea once again. Tell us about your background and how you discovered your talent for painting.
Lilanga: Thank you for having me. My artistic journey began with my roots – a unique blend of two distinct tribes from my parents' sides. While my father's lineage boasts scholars, my mother's side is brimming with artists, dancers, and musicians. I believe I inherited my artistic inclination from my mother, and it has been a defining aspect of my life ever since.
Han: Your passion for art is evident in your paintings. Can you share your experiences while drawing inspiration from JIRI mountain during your visits to Korea?
Likanga: Jiri Mountain holds a special place in my heart. This is my second time here, and it has changed significantly since my last visit a decade ago. Back then, it was quiet and somewhat lonely, allowing me to concentrate solely on my paintings amidst nature's embrace. This time, I noticed the bustling presence of people and houses. It provided a new perspective, and I found joy in not just the landscape but also the interactions with the locals living there.
Han: Your paintings beautifully portray human connections. What motivates you to depict such diverse expressions and actions?
Lilanga: Human connections fascinate me. Each painting reflects the myriad emotions and experiences that we all encounter in life. By including numerous individuals, I aim to emphasize the power of togetherness and the meaningful stories that unfold when people interact.
The vivid colors I use represent the richness of human experiences, making the paintings more inviting and engaging.
Han: I noticed some Korean elements in your artwork. How do you incorporate Korean culture into your paintings?
Lilanga: Korea has been a significant influence on my artistic journey. I began using Korean traditional paper called Hanji, although it posed a challenge initially. But I've learned to collaborate with it and embrace its unique qualities.
Additionally, my interactions with Korean visitors have left a profound impact, inspiring me to infuse some Korean characters into my artwork as a gesture of appreciation and unity.
Han: It's heartening to see your appreciation for Korean culture. On a lighter note, could you tell us about your favorite food experiences in Korea?
Lilanga: (Laughs) Ah, the food! I absolutely adore hot and spicy webfoot octopus dishes. Being from a village without easy access to seafood, trying Korean seafood cuisine has been an unforgettable experience during my visits. The flavors here are delightful and complement the warmth of Korean hospitality.
Han: Your art has resonated with many in Korea. What message do you hope to convey through your exhibitions and collaborations here?
Lilanga: My art is a testament to the beauty of life and the diversity of human experiences. I wish to encourage people to embrace differences and find inspiration in each other's stories. Through my exhibitions, I hope to foster a sense of unity, where art becomes a bridge that connects people across cultures.
Han: That's a truly noble mission. Lastly, where can our readers find your art and learn more about your work?
Lilanga: My main exhibition is currently being held at Gouter Gallery, thanks to the support and collaboration of my dear friend and partner, Mr. Jeong Hae Gwang, the director of Tongkeun Gallery, which exclusively focuses on African art. For more information about my art and exhibitions, please contact Tongkeun Gallery.
Mr. Jeong's unwavering commitment to promoting African art in Korea has enriched the country's art scene and introduced Korean audiences to a world of creativity they might not have explored otherwise.
Through this collaboration, Mr. Hendrick Lilinga has been able to share his profound message of unity and human connection, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of art enthusiasts in Korea.
The future looks promising as this artistic partnership continues to flourish, bridging cultures and expanding the horizons of artistic appreciation for years to come.