aziza siankam for girl gone authentic

Deeply Rooted, Conversation with Aziza Siankam

For Paris-based self taught painter and print magazine graphic designer Aziza Siankam, inspiration is a sacred exchange between her ancestor’s land, spiritual believes and mystical practices. As she sinks her roots deeper into exploring her native ways, a veil lifts and she becomes a portal transmuting forgotten wisdom on canvas. Sit with us in this conversation and let’s devour Aziza’s artist inspirations in depth.

Website: Aziza Siankam

1. GirlGoneAuthentic: Please tell us a bit about yourself?

Aziza: Hi, my name is Aziza Siankam. I am a 23-year-old multidisciplinary Cameroonian and half Congolese artist based in the Paris region. 

I practice art through figurative and abstract paintings, and I am also disciplined in graphic design.

Aziza is my real first name and originally it is an Arabic name meaning ‘to be precious’ or ‘loved,’ but my mother called me that by being inspired by a tale about a princess that she discovered when she was young.

2. GirlGoneAuthentic: In your opinion, how is art is important to society?

Aziza: Art in society is for me the most powerful form of expression; it is unique to each person, it is essential to communication and to the development of personality and style. In every moment of life there is art – whether on the street, everywhere in nature, in the way that we move, express our body, our language, our communication, our feeling, our music…art is inside people. Society is changing enormously and leaving more and more room for the freedom of everyone to be able to express the art that suits them. It’s a bit like a bottle in the sea that we send and we hope that it will reach several people so that we are understood and heard. So, art is essential and there is no life without art because it shapes society and every person today, so it leaves messages for future generations

GirlGoneAuthentic: Why do you make art?

Aziza: Personally, I make art mainly to express myself: whether it is my personality, what I like, or my way of thinking. I was first drawn to art during my preparation in graphic art in 2019 when I discovered the different artistic currents and graphic design.
I learnt painting on my own. At first on small dimensions, then out of dissatisfaction and admiration of large formats, with passion and self-criticism, I worked on my technique as best I could in order to achieve the best results in what I wanted to express. Trying to find my style of painting, I experimented with different methods that I had long admired in Impressionist painters (principally Claude Monet) in order to transmit nature as I perceive it, and to transpose my emotions and most authentic thoughts, hoping to pass on the same feelings and emotions to those who see my art.
Liking the diversity between my inspirational subjects like indigenous cultures, nature, so many documentaries, my personal life or poems, my paintings are very varied because they sum up my personality. Gradually, it’s become my main activity even if I don’t live from it yet, I trust myself and I am happy with what I do which for me is the most important thing for my evolution and my mental health.

“Child of the Sun and the Earth, your muses shine under your open-hearted writings and monologues. Like the flowers, you plunge your roots into the earth, come out to reveal yourself gradually, then close yourself again.”

Aziza for Girl Gone authentic Soul's links seen from above
Work: Soul’s Links, 124x45 & 90x45 pencil, dry pastel, cotton, acrylic on paper. "Ephemeral work built like a diary where my personal little words and anecdotes wander between the mini muses representing me and transport a part of my vulnerability which is too often concealed through my introversion."
Portrait of Aziza with soul Links
Soul links Aziza's Artwork

GirlGoneAuthentic: Would you mind sharing your cultural background and does it have an influence on your work?

Aziza: Being of Cameroonian origin and precisely of the Douala ethnic group, this greatly influences my work concerning my various activities. When I started to get interested in different art forms such as ceramics and cultural archival pictures, it inspired me so much to look for more pictures of my people, scenes of life, traditional art and also to embark on pottery inspired by models that I find after long research. It is also in this way that my project Studio Weibá was born little by little because it is this passion for archives and traditional art that pushed me to share the cultural archives of my culture. Weibá comes from Wei and Madibá meaning Sun and Water in Douala language. It is a creative project and like a safe place where the expression of my personality and my activities mingle in order to be able to express, share my inspirations, and my native culture. I chose to combine these words because they are linked to the spirituality of  my native ethnic group.  

The Ngondo, celebrated in December during the hot season is where many collective activities take place, including a ritual where the spirits of the waters; mainly female, exchange with male initiates of this rite requests and blessings in order to maintain peace between the different ethnic groups of the Sawa clan and to bring fertility, healing and abundant fishing. Madibá is therefore a central element of this spirituality because it is  source. Weibá also represents this important attachment to the elements of nature that its culture strives to preserve. So Weiba is an evolving project  pronounced: ou – ei – ba.

GirlGoneAuthentic: Is there a particular goal or purpose you wish to realise through your art?

Aziza: The goal and objective of my work, whether it be my paintings or my Studio Weibá project, is above all the sharing of identity, sharing who I am, what makes me live inside, makes me happy, inspires me daily. For example, the painting was intended to first help me understand myself – understand and manage my hypersensitivity and my empathy that I discovered only 3 years ago, it allowed me to realize that I had a lot to say about what I see around me and how I see life. Gradually, by sharing my art, I realized that other people around me felt the same things and found themselves in what I painted. That’s when I understood that I was not painting just for me but also so that other people can feel soothed, feel strong and comforting emotions.

girl gone authentic aziza siankam map of Douala
map of Douala
girl gone authentic aziza siankam map of Cameroon
map of Cameroon
girl gone authenitc aziza siankam En route vers Douala 1950
En route vers Douala 1950
Aziza Siankam Abya Yala, 80x100, acrylic on canvas
Abya Yala, 80x100, acrylic on canvas.
girl gone authentic aziza siankam Ngondo celebration
Ngondo celebration
girl gone authentic aziza siankam picture of initiate men for the Ngondo ritual
picture of initiate men for the Ngondo ritual
girl gone authentic aziza siankam Insider gathering for the Ngondo
insider gathering for the Ngondo

GirlGoneAuthentic: Describe your ideal work environment.

Aziza: My ideal environment to work in would be an average house with a cute garden, it would be located in an urban country town (much like the one I currently live in), where there is not much noise, or the you can hear the birds singing every morning. And in this one I would live most of the time in a fairly large room with lots of plants, large windows, rustic decoration in brown and beige colors, lots of wooden furniture, a large Persian khaki green rug with ornaments gold, neo soul music in the background, lots of fruit. Fun fact I have a lot of example photos in my Pinterest.

GirlGoneAuthentic: What does a good day look like to you?

Aziza: And A good day for me looks like a pretty quiet day where I do my morning yoga, after cleaning my space I go to the supermarket to buy the food for my lunch, being an alkaline vegan I take the time to choose each food so I come back home around 12 p.m. then after eating I work on my current projects while watching a documentary (I work better doing these two things at the same time haha), make my meal and at the end of the day I settle in my garden to take some fresh air then watch my Japanese anime unfinish or somes films animated or a old africans films. Generally, I fall asleep around 11:30 p.m. or 12:30 a.m. depending on my activity. When I know that I have to continue painting, I fall asleep around 3 or 4 in the morning. Typically my ideal days are quite calm but they are never alike, because I am quite unpredictable in my actions.

picture of aziza siankam in front of the lake where she medidate
Aziza Siankam front of the lake where she meditates
Aziza Siankam Origine, 60x60, acrylic on canvas
Aziza Siankam's Origine, 60x60, acrylic on canvas

Aziza, may your gentle spirit continue to guide you. Thank you for your time, and thoughtfulness.

All images are sourced from Aziza Siankam and Studio Weibá

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