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Art and Writings of Engelbert Mveng SJ (1930-1995)

Fr Engelbert Mveng SJ (1930-1995)Fr. Engelbert Mveng SJ (May 9, 1930—April 22, 1995) was a Cameroonian Jesuit priest, artist and scholar, who researched and published in theology, history and anthropology. His scholarly ideas found aesthetic expression in his numerous paintings. Arising from the heart of Africa's traditional aesthetics, Mveng's art pieces found their way to different parts of the world and became a real patrimony to humanity. For example, his Stations of the Cross and Resurrection adorn the chapel of Hekima College in Nairobi (Kenya), his Our Lady of Africa is found in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth (Israel), and his mural depicting angelic activity through history is in the Holy Angels Church in Chicago (USA). Thus, in a manner that was hitherto unprecedented, Mveng used art to express Africa's deepest spiritual insights into universal Christian phenomena.

This great artist-scholar was brutally murdered by an unknown assailant in the night of 22 April 1995 in Younde, Cameroon.

At the beginning of the 20th anniversary of his passing, the JHIA wishes to inaugurate two projects in his memory:

Turning the_Water_into_WineI. The JHIA intends to obtain copies of all existing documents, published or unpublished, that are authored by Mveng about any topic or by others about Mveng. This collection will then be preserved at the JHIA for posterity and, at the same time, made available to those who might wish to study Mveng's intellectual legacy.

II. The JHIA intends to acquire high quality photographs of Mveng's paintings for the purpose of publishing them in a single volume, each with a succinct description and a professional commentary. In this format, the JHIA aims to make Mveng's aesthetic patrimony available to more people throughout the world. Moreover, it is hoped that such a publication will stimulate and encourage similar attempts at expressing scholarly insights through African visual art.

From what has been said above, it is clear that Mveng's artistic and textual material are scattered in different places. The JHIA is appealing for broad collaboration—indeed, coalition—that will make this project a success. We believe that any interested party could help with this project in one or more ways. Please consider the following:


I. Help us to identify any book, article or document (published or unpublished) that is authored by Mveng on any topic or authored by another on Mveng. Also, help us to identify any painting that was done by Mveng.

II. Help us to located the texts or paintings of the material identified (cf. No. I above).

III. Help us acquire originals or high quality copies of the identified and located material (cf. NN. I & II above).

IV. Help us to fund or to identify sources of funding for this project. Assuming that we do not find local help to actually collect information on the ground and relay it to us in good quality, and assuming that we will therefore have to travel to at least three international destinations for the purposes of gathering information, the JHIA will need an estimated US $ 42,476.70 in order to fully realize this project within a period of two years (please see separate text on the breakdown of this amount). We value and appreciate any donation towards raising this amount.

You may use the following contact to find out more about the project or to take part in it:

Dr. Festo Mkenda SJ, Director, Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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