Heritier Bilaka is a visual artist from the Democratic Republic of Congo based in Ottawa, Canada. His got a diploma of Fine arts in Kinshasa in 2007 and a bachelor's degree in University of Ottawa. He works mainly with oil and acrylic on canvas and digital painting. He has participated in several exhibitions in cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, London Uk and Cannes, France. Some of his artworks are in the collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery. He painted a piece commissioned by Maron'ages gallery in Lyon, France and another for a private residence in Ancona, Italy.
Based in Ottawa, Canada
Culturally Arts Collective features:
"Broken Mirrors", June 10 - July 22 2022, Milostka Center for Exhibitions
What do you aim to say by the themes in your art?
The themes of my artworks relate to spirituality by presenting human being in a harmonious and non-dominant relationship with his environment. My main subject of representation is woman since it is linked to my traditional Bantu culture which has a matriarchal vision of society. The representation of the female nude in my art illustrates this vision which is non-dualistic and which considers that woman is the mother of humanity. I illustrate this idea of a return to essential values and spirituality with regard to what is happening in the world. The purpose of my work is not to provide answers but rather to create a mirror effect that can raise questions and debates according to interpretations, histories and experiences of publics.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from everything I observe around me. Sometimes when I'm walking alone I wonder what is going on in the world, whether it's the pandemic, wars, climate change, the growing influence of technology in our lives and even what's becoming art.
Sometimes it comes from the conversations I have with colleagues on or with my family. I then try to bring it all back into a spiritual approach. My work reveals more questions than answers.
Do you have experiences that impacted your art?
Yes, it is what is going on in most of countries in Africa and the situation of woman in my country. Africa was the first and powerful civilization. Everything came from there. How did we become the last of all? Why can't we get up? African woman who was once considered the mother of humanity has become the one who is raped and thrown to the ground. This situation really impact my art.
Do you feel your art challenges existing barriers?
I don't know if my art challenges anything, but I feel there are still many stereotypes about Africa history and cultures. Also the paradigm of art today worries me. All these concepts, many of which take us away from artistic creation that comes to the soul.. I am trying promote my culture in my art by keeping to pay attention to what my soul says to me and not only my brain.
What are your long-term artistic goals?
My long-term artistic goals are that my art be recognized at its fair value and that the message I try to convey in my art be expected and understood.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
I have no particular advice for aspiring artists other than to do what they really love. When you do something with love, You find happiness.