Magic from Cameroon
In April of this year, Barefoot Love got connected to Kaze, an artist from Cameroon, Africa. Because of political reasons, he fled his country and came to Hong Kong as an asylum seeker over 10 years ago.
Although briefly a mechanical engineering student in Cameroon, Kaze has an innate passion for art. He has a small studio in Mui Wo, Hong Kong, where Barefoot Love was invited to visit.
When we walked in, we found that Kaze’s paintings were all over his studio, even on the ground. While most museums only allow visitors to look at exhibits, for Kaze, art is to be experienced and interacted with. Kaze says people have the right to feel and admire art by touching it.
“[Museums] are afraid you will damage the painting. But this one, you can touch, you can do whatever. You see the way I stand on it, right? Can you imagine people standing on art in a museum?”
Kaze uses a plethora of materials for his paintings and sculptures, including a shoe he found in the trash.
“It’s a shoe that people don’t use anymore, but we can use it for art,” he says, “But to me, the meaning is that each step in life counts.”
He finds inspiration from places he’s been to, and often wakes up with new ideas. He focuses on abstract art and uses a lot of bright, shiny colors in his pieces.
Kaze’s family was not supportive of his career choice because of its financial implications. For a family that was already struggling to survive, art as a profession was no guarantee to paying the bills. But Kaze felt that he found himself and his peace of mind in art. His soul seemed to come alive.
“I saw the way art could transcend, change people, that magic,” he says, “magic is the power of creativity.”
The key message Kaze wants to convey through his art is love. Having gone through difficult circumstances back home, he longs for his art to make a difference, to break racial prejudice, ostracism, and discrimination.
“My passion, message, and dream is to see people united. To see the Chinese, Africans, Europeans walking hand in hand, without hating each other, without saying, “You’re black, I’m white. I’m better than you, I’m prouder.” No, we need to focus on what we have in common. That’s our love, which connects us.”
Kaze feels personally empowered when he sees his art touching and impacting others. For him, it’s like sharing his peace of mind with others.
“The importance of being human is not in money, not in material things. It’s also about how far can you contribute to the people of this world, what can you give to people. Through art, I give love.”