The great sculptor Leandro Mbomio Nsue dies

posted by – November 13th, 2012

In the early hours of yesterday morning, Monday, November 12, the 74-year-old artist Leandro Mbomio Nsue died, after three days in a coma and a disease that lasted for months, but had not yet prevented him from working. The death occurred in La Paz Medical Center of Bata.

Mbomio Nsue, born in Evinayong, was known throughout the world as “the black Picasso” for his unique creativity, which led him to show his art throughout the world. Mbomio carried out his basic studies at the School of Arts and Crafts of Bata, before moving to Spain, where he continued his training at schools such as the Moncloa Ceramics School and the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, both in Madrid. A tireless traveler, during his youth he lived in Barcelona, France, Germany and the United States. In the first decades of his life, he was associated with international artistic and intellectual personalities such as Pablo Picasso, with whom he shared a great friendship. Besides being undoubtedly the most universal of Equatorial Guinean artists, Mbomio was also a cosmopolitan intellectual who participated in some of the most important artistic, social and cultural movements of the century. He was, for example, present in the Negritude movement that took place in France, and also related to U.S. Black Panthers organization in the sixties.

Moreover, Leandro Mbomio was the first civilian member of the Supreme Military Council, after the Freedom Strike in 1979 carried out by H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. At that time, which also meant the rebirth of the country, Leandro Mbomio was appointed State Commissioner for Education, Culture and Sports, specifically in 1981. Later he was appointed Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism and Government Spokesperson of Equatorial Guinea.

In recent years, Mbomio was the President of the Scientific and Technological Research Council (CICTE) and participated in numerous cultural events and exhibitions. He carried out the last of these works as developed as Commissioner-General of Equatorial Guinea’s stand at the World Expo in Yeosu, South Korea, held earlier this year 2012. Precisely during his stay in Korea, he had to be treated for his health problems, which did not prevent him, however, from travelling to the far eastern country and taking on his responsibility. He also served for years as President of the Association of Plastic Arts of the International Center of the Bantu Civilization (CICIBA). He was also director and co-founder of Barcelona’s Sala Gaudi, Director of Promotion of the First Congress of Latin American Arts in Barcelona and promoter of many other art spaces. In 2009, Leandro Mbomio was selected by the Royal Spanish Academy as one of the academics of the institution in Equatorial Guinea. Anecdotally, the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea Award, which was awarded for the first time this year, represents one of the figures made by Mbomio located in the central building of the UNESCO in Paris.

His sculptures are distributed in museums and art galleries around the world, especially in Spain, where he carried out much of his youth work and where he maintained one of his studios. Also, Mbomio received numerous international awards, including the National Prize for Painting of Equatorial Guinea, the National Prize of  Circle of Fine Arts of Madrid; several awards from the Institute of African Studies of Madrid, the Excellence Award of the Institute of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Hollywood, etc.

In the coming days ceremonies will take place to pay homage to the most universal artist and sculptor of Equatorial Guinea’s young history.

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