Sylvain Maixent Nguema, better known as Fiston, is one of Gabon Boutique’s most accomplished local artists. Specializing in sculpture of a musical instrument, the 8-stringed harp (the cithare), Fiston’s creations are found in many temples practicing the Fang Bwiti throughout Gabon.
Fiston is initiated in the Fang Bwiti, known as Mambiri, and draws his inspiration from his religion and culture. “During my first initiation, the Bwiti showed me the cithare and told me the way to make her. It gave me my vocation, showed me my teacher, and told me that I would make music in my life.”
His workshop is located in the Nzeng Ayong quartier of Libreville. Most of his clients come to him by word of mouth from within his ethnic group, the Fang. He also makes percussion instruments, masks, and other items essential in the Bwiti. He also receives tourists and other strangers. “My art isn’t exclusive to Gabonese. To the contrary, the Bwiti is for everyone.”
Apart from being a sculptor, Fiston is also a cameraman. His works include images from the Annie-Flore Batchiellilys musical festival, Mighoma, the first and second editions.