Roots of the TJD art – Chokwe

The evolution of Bwana, our main character – from original Chokwe mask photo to current 3D model

Origins

Many of the characters that inhabit the Journey Down universe, are based on, or at least inspired by African masks. Bwana, our main character is no exception. Fact is, it all started with him. When lurking on the intersphere one day I came across a bunch of neat masks, (the Chokwe mask seen above being one of them) and I said to myself, hey, this would make an awesome character – if I don’t do something with this guy he’ll be lurking at the back of my head for the rest of my life taunting me and asking why oh why I ignored his pleas to become a point ‘n click character. Obviously I had no choice but to obey. And once I had Bwana, the rest of the universe around him just started spilling out into my sketchbook.

 

The Chokwe People

 

The Chokwe are a central African ethnic group, primarily located in Angola, DRC Congo (formerly Zaire) and Zambia. Their art generally focuses on objects produced for the royal court, such as staffs, stools, portraits of regal dudes and other ornately carved objects such as thrones and that kind of neat kingy-stuff.

But most importantly, they make mindbobblingly cool masks, such as Bwana’s or the one seen to the left here which also is the base for another of the big characters in TJD.

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