Carving Out a New Life


This is my home. I'm in Shepparton. I'm living here. My name's Nickel Mundabi Ngadwa Nickel. My home country is Democratic Republic of Congo. There was trouble there, I went to refugee. It was in 2000. And this is my home. And until now I continue just to do my art. Art, here, is very difficult, because I can't come with all the tools, because I was a refugee. I'm doing painting and carving wood too.

My work is a little bit traditional. Like in my tradition in Africa, we don't have machines. My first teacher in carving wood is my grandfather. In my own village. Yeah. I started art at the age of five years, to help my grandfather.

Here in Australia, I like Huon Pine. My friends give me Huon Pine. That wood is very nice wood. And Red Gum too. Red Gum's very nice to carve. But hard, yeah.

This is a first step for a small amount. First step to really just form. Now, I can design them, design to give a good form.

This is a nose. Here will be eyes. With a traditional model, traditional artist will not see the shape. But when I went to school, I know to give a good shape in your piece. That's the tool. This piece of wood will take a value after doing this I'm doing now.

Because everything, when you do put something inside, it become value. It become spirit. I'm not talking about a spirit like a vampire, no. I'm talking about a something value. And this piece of wood will take a value after doing this I'm doing now.

About this Video

Nickel Mundabi Ngadwa demonstrating his carving and painting processes, Shepparton, 2014.
Length: 03:00