Interviews door Sinzo Aanza #7: Francis Mampuya

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 2): Sven Augustijnen & Francis Mampuya (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 7: Francis Mampuya


0:00-0:03        I’m Francis Mampuya.
0:09-0:10        My second name is Nkita
0:10-0:12        But my professional name is Francis Mampuya.
0:17-0:21        I primarily want to talk about art,
0:22-0:25        but more specifically here in Kinshasa, in Congo.
0:26-0:29        Art is a difficult profession.
0:30-0:35        Life, and the situation in the country,
0:36-0:38        don’t make it easy
0:38-0:40        to keep making art
0:40-0:43        in this land.
0:45-0:49        It requires a great deal of sacrifice.
0:50-0:52        Because, even here,
0:54-0:56        for the work we deliver,
0:56-0:59        it’s difficult to find buyers
1:00-1:03        and there are no art galleries.
1:05-1:09        Often, the only people who can help us
1:09-1:11        are foreign partners.
1:13-1:14        It’s as if this profession
1:14-1:16        is only of interest to foreigners.
1:18-1:20        Here, the knowledge of art is
1:20-1:21        very limited.
1:23-1:30        Very few people are looking for artworks
1:30-1:31        to hang in their homes.
1:31-1:34        Art is not a preoccupation here
1:34-1:36        amongst the Congolese.
1:37-1:39        This is why
1:40-1:42        I sometimes call what we do
1:42-1:45        a suicidal profession.
1:46-1:52        We’re devoted to art
1:52-1:55        otherwise it would be impossible to continue in Congo.
1:56-1:59        This life and this situation are difficult.
1:59-2:01        On the material and economic front,
2:02-2:04        there are many problems.
2:04-2:07        If we, as artists, are devoted to art
2:08-2:10        then it’s because we were born into it.
2:10-2:14        So it’s in our blood.
2:15-2:16        Something in our blood.
2:17-2:20        I come from a family of artists.
2:21-2:36        By this I mean
2:37-2:40        that some of my ancestors
2:41-2:42        were sculptors
2:42-2:46        or architects.
2:48-2:49        Like my grandfather, for example.
2:50-2:52        He was a member of the Executive Board
2:52-2:55        of the superintendents of Notre-Dame de Kinshasa
2:56-3:02        and Saint-Paul in the municipality of Kinshasa.
3:04-3:08        I inherited these traits from my uncles.
3:09-3:10        They were all artists.
3:11-3:15        My entire family was predestined for art.
3:19-3:21        As far as the work is concerned, what we mainly lack
3:21-3:24        are galleries.
3:24-3:27        And people who can buy art.
3:29-3:32        These days you might make art
3:32-3:34        but you can’t find anyone who can buy it.
3:35-3:37        Finding a buyer is a matter of luck.
3:38-3:41        Those who have an eye for it
3:41-3:42        come from abroad.
3:43-3:45        Friends who have the opportunity to come here,
3:45-3:48        or diplomats, or someone on a mission.
3:48-3:51        They have the means to help us.
3:52-3:58        The works we offer for sale
3:58-4:04        raise just enough money to survive.
4:05-4:09        It’s not like artists from elsewhere
4:10-4:17        who are given grants.
4:18-4:19        It’s a bit different.
4:22-4:24        That’s why you see that for art
4:25-4:27        there are limits here today.
4:28-4:33        But we try to
4:34-4:35        make progress on many fronts.
4:36-4:37        That’s why there are still creations.
4:37-4:38        We’re not giving up.
4:38-4:40        Sometimes we also create things
4:40-4:44        that allow the whole world to
4:44-4:46        see that Congolese artists are also
4:47-4:49        creating valuable works.
4:50-4:52        Anywhere in the world you can
4:52-4:53        see popular artists.
4:53-4:56        Or colleagues who
4:56-4:57        realise something.
5:00-5:02        It’s therefore a great honour.
5:03-5:05        But the artists themselves,
5:05-5:07        they cannot make a living.
5:07-5:10        There’s nothing in it for them.
5:10-5:13        As far as the galleries are concerned, it’s often the case
5:14-5:24        that the gallery owner is more important.
5:23-5:28        You see that everywhere.
5:29-5:30        We find that if you
5:30-5:33        sell a work of art,
5:33-5:36        you might receive 200 or 100 dollars.
5:36-5:37        But once the piece ends up in Europe,
5:37-5:40        then the gallery owners can
5:40-5:47        set their own price.
5:48-5:52        As a result, we earn almost nothing ourselves.
5:55-5:59        I could say that you can’t put a price on art.
6:00-6:04        But the artist must also benefit
6:04-6:06        from his work, from his rights.
6:07-6:10        Copyright, publication rights and so on.
6:11-6:16        We do not have any real sources of income.
6:17-6:20        We have no one who takes care of copyright,
6:22-6:30        nor a place where the artist’s fees
6:30-6:31        from his rights and works
6:31-6:33        can be collected.
6:34-6:37        This is down to our own lack of organisation.
6:38-6:39        It’s a bit of that.
6:41-6:43        When I see art
6:43-6:46        in books
6:46-6:47        it gives me pleasure.
6:47-6:50        When I see art in catalogues
6:50-6:53        then it’s encouraging.
6:55-6:57        In the sense that the European galleries
6:57-6:58        exhibit your works.
6:58-6:59        That’s very good.
7:02-7:04        There’s always a complementarity
7:05-7:07        for us, for African artists.
7:11-7:13        We’re not opposed to the
7:13-7:15        complementarity with gallery owners.
7:16-7:18        But we must also benefit
7:18-7:20        from our own creations.
7:22-7:23        That’s pretty much the problem.

Interviews door Sinzo Aanza: #6 Sim Simaro

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 1): Sim Simaro & Jef Geys (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 6: Sim Simaro


0:00-0:03        I’ll introduce myself:
0:03-0:08        Nsingi Ndosimao Simon
0:08-0:11        Alias: ‘Sim Simaro’,
0:11-0:13        ‘The Prophet of Popular Painting’.
0:13-0:16        That’s my slogan.
0:17-0:20        I practice popular painting.
0:20-0:22        I’m one of the great
0:23:0-26        popular painters from Congo.
0:27-0:29        Because popular painting began…
0:30-0:33        It began a long time ago,
0:34-0:36        in the time of our grandparents.
0:37-0:38        But it was not well known.
0:39-0:41        If it is well known today,
0:42-0:44        then it is thanks to us.
0:45-0:47        Today, people know that
0:47-0:49        popular painting exists.
0:50-0:52        And that is thanks to me.
0:52-0:54        I can list the colleagues with whom
0:54-0:55        I started popular painting
0:55-0:57        here in Kinshasa.
0:58-0:59        I am one of them.
0:59-1:00        There is also Chéri Samba,
1:00-1:02        Chéri Benga,
1:03-1:06        Bodo, Ange Kumbi…
1:08-1:12        And also Chéri Chérin.
1:12-1:13        Even though he is younger than us.
1:14-1:17        And a few more who came after us.
1:18-1:19        People like Matshuela.
1:20-1:21        There are literally too many of us
1:21-1:22        to list.
1:23-1:24        Sinzi is another one.
1:25-1:28        We are the ones who started popular painting,
1:29-1:30        as it is known today
1:31-1:33        in Kinshasa, and the whole world.
1:34-1:38        We are the professionals in this kind of painting.
1:40-1:42        As far as my work is concerned…
1:42-1:44        When I left school
1:44-1:46        I could not find work.
1:47-1:49        I didn’t know what to do.
1:49-1:51        But I said to myself that I
1:51-1:53        was actually good at drawing.
1:53-1:55        From when I was little, at school,
1:55-1:57        I was good at drawing.
1:58-2:00        I thought, ‘I have no work
2:01-2:04        but I am good at drawing’.
2:05-2:07        We were eating somewhere
2:07-2:08        on Avenue Bokasa
2:09-2:13        and I saw the writing, ‘Artista Pintor’.
2:13-2:17        Artista Pintor is a man who
2:17-2:20        makes murals.
2:21-2:23        He decorates signs.
2:24-2:27        I told him that I was also good at drawing
2:28-2:30        and asked him if
2:30-2:34        I could be his apprentice
2:34-2:38        in order to build a future for myself.
2:39-2:43        He said that I could certainly come
2:43-2:45        and learn something from him.
2:45-2:48        So I helped him, for example,
2:48-2:50        at the textile manufacturer Utex Africa.
2:50-2:53        Sometimes we worked nights
2:53-2:54        and I came to the studio during the day.
2:54-2:56        I followed him everywhere he went to decorate walls
2:56-2:58        or went to make stamps.
2:58-3:01        Or illuminated signs.
3:03-3:07        So I already made sketches for him,
3:07-3:11        of animals, of dilemmas, of the mermaid …
3:12-3:14        I did that for a year.
3:15-3:17        Then his business went bust.
3:18-3:20        I didn’t want to stay idle.
3:21-3:22        So I built a shed.
3:22-3:25        And on the wall I painted a drawing
3:26-3:28        of myself as a needy person,
3:29-3:33        begging for charity.
3:34-3:35        Many people came to ask,
3:35-3:38        ‘Where does that poor wretch come from…?’
3:38-3:41        So many people came
3:42-3:43        that it became bothersome.
3:44-3:46        Many young people from Kingasani
3:47-3:48        also begged me:
3:48-3:50        ‘Give me the mermaid’s powers!’
3:50-3:52        I said, ‘But I don’t have them!’
3:52-3:54        ‘They’re just drawings.’
3:54-3:56        For me the mermaid is just beautiful to draw.
3:57-3:59        It’s a beautiful girl, that’s all.
3:59-4:01        That’s the only reason why I draw her so often.
4:02-4:03        But I don’t have her magic powers.
4:04-4:06        The women from the street
4:07-4:09        come and help me with their beauty
4:09-4:10        to draw the mermaid.
4:10-4:12        In a positive sense.
4:12-4:14         As regards my work…
4:15-4:17        I mainly work with oil on canvas.
4:17-4:19        And acrylics.
4:19-4:21        That is my technique.
4:21-4:24        Sometimes one part in oil paint and another in acrylic
4:24-4:26        but always on canvas.
4:29-4:33        I really love everyday themes.
4:33-4:35        So a variety of themes.
4:36-4:38        Markets, for example.
4:39-4:40        There are always lots of people there.
4:41-4:44        Like one of my drawings that’s now being exhibited.
4:44-4:46        ‘The atmosphere at Kinshasa’s central market’
4:47-4:49        I often draw the bustling scene
4:49-4:51        on the central market in Kinshasa.
4:52-4:54        The beautiful things that
4:55-4:56        people buy and sell.
4:57-4:59        And then a thief that is stealing there!
5:00-5:03        Before he steals, he prays to God.
5:04-5:06        ‘God, help me.’
5:06-5:07        ‘I’m about to steal.’
5:07-5:12        ‘Help me and I will donate part of it to the priest.’
5:13-5:17        So thieves who pray when they steal.
5:18-5:23        I don’t know if God actually helps thieves.
5:24-5:25        Because God is great.
5:25-5:29        Does he actually allow that?
5:30-5:36        But I draw that, because I see them doing it.
5:37-5:39        I often draw animals too.
5:40-5:46        Like in my work ‘Animal Football’.
5:47-5:50        I enjoy that.
5:50-5:53        So I make the animals play football.
5:54-5:56        I give it the title:
5:56-5:58        ‘The rules have to be amended.’
5:59-6:00        Because the arbitration doesn’t always run smoothly.
6:02-6:04        The referee is only human.
6:04-6:06        He has his feelings.
6:07-6:08        In some cases I don’t agree with him.
6:09-6:10        It would be better if the referee was electronic
6:10-6:12        or a robot.
6:13-6:15        With a human, the feelings are too dominant.
6:16-6:18        He can wrongly whistle for offside.
6:18-6:19        That’s why I have created that work.
6:20-6:24        So that is what I, Sim Simaro,
6:24-6:26        can briefly say today.
6:27-6:29        If you can come again
6:29-6:30        I’ll tell you the rest.

Interviews door Sinzo Aanza: #5 Chéri Benga

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 1): Chéri Benga (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 5: Chéri Benga


00:06               My name is Chéri Benga, I’m a painter 00:10/
00:12               I’ve been in this profession a long time 00:15
00:16               It’s already been thirty-five years 00:20/
00:21               since I started doing this professionally 00:22/
00:23               I’m self-taught 00:25
00:26               The work that I make 00:27
00:27               isn’t something that I learned at school 00:28/
00:30               At school, I followed other subjects 00:34/
00:35               But to become a painter 00:36
00:37               I consulted the elders 00:39
00:40               in order to learn from them 00:41
00:42               how to make the paint solution  00:46
0046:               and how to develop the drawing. 00:51/
00:54               I learnt everything from the elders in 1977. 01:01/
01:02               I went to study with someone who was more experienced. 01:03
01:03               His name was … 01:05
01:05               … on his panel he wrote Publi-Kubama 01:10
01:10               the ‘Publi’ stands for publicity. 01:12
01:13               He was an advertiser 01:14/
01:15               who didn’t make drawings 01:16
01:16               but publicity. 01:17
01:17               Advertising murals, stamps 01:20
01:21               portraits and silkscreens. 01:25/
01:26               Since then, 01:27
01:27               I’ve been developing 01:32
01:33               my own art 01:34
01:35               Even when I reached the same level, … 01:38
01:39               I still continued to work with these artists 01:41
01:42               but I was talented 01:42
01:43               and the best draughtman in the workshop. 01:51/
01:54               I then learned 01:57
01:57               the techniques of advertising murals, 01:58
01:59               silkscreen printing 02:02
02:04               and how to make stamps. 02: 06 /
02:07               That’s why, after three years, 02:11
02:12               I was able to set up my own studio. 02:13
02:14               This was in… 1979. 02:19
02:20               I started my own studio in 1979. 02:23
02:23               Back then, we were called naive painters. 02:28
02:29               Street painters, so not real painters. 02: 36 /
02:37               But around that time,
Badibanga Nemwina, 02:40
02:40               an art critic, 02:41
02:42               convinced us, 02:44
02:44               the popular painters, 02:46
02:46               to have an art exhibition. 02:48
02:49               So that we’d be recognised 02:50
02:50               as painters. 02: 52/
02:52               The exhibition was a great success 02:56
02:57               and the value of our work 02:58
02:58               and of us, as painters, became clear. 03: 01/
03:02               Now even the academics recognise 03:07
03:07               us as visual artists 03:09
03:10               We are all visual artists 03:12
03:12               and recognised as masters. 03:17
03:18               As artists, we work without problems 03:19
03:19               We can now assert ourselves 03: 21/
03:23               We quietly practice our profession 03:26
03:27               and thanks to God 03:29
03:29               we continue, to this very day, 03:31
03:31               to participate in exhibitions abroad. 03: 33/
03:37               We make our work here 03:39
03:40               but our clients are often foreigners 03:44
03:44               as are the collectors. 03:46
03:47               Only the whites appreciate 03:48
03:48               the value of our paintings. 03: 50/
03:51               Locally, it’s more difficult. 03: 53/
03:53               In the beginning, we sold to local clients 04:01
04:01               but at very low prices. 04:04
04:05               The white clients 04:06
04:06               have really valorised our works. 4:08
04:09               We now sell them at higher prices, 04: 11/
04:12               to the extent that 04:13
04:13               Congolese paintings are bought up 04:20
04:21               and resold to whites. 04:23/
04:24               This is why there are almost no paintings left 04:27
04:27                in the houses around here. 04:29
04:30                  Intermediaries purchase them 04:36
04:36               to resell them to whites. 04:37/
04:38               This has helped to elevate our art. 04:41/
04:32               But we’ll sometimes  04:33
04:33               have problems 04:45
04:48               with certain customers. Some customers 04:52
04:55               will suggest working together. 04:57
04:57               But usually we have problems 04:58
04:58               with whites, and especially with collectors. 05:03
05:03               But we always solve these problems. 05:09
05:10               These are our biggest issues. 05:13/
05:14               We occasionally have problems with gallery owners in Europe 05:17
05:18               to whom we send paintings for sale. 05:19
05:20               The money transfer is sometimes a problem. 05:26
05:30               Yet this remains our profession. 05:32
05:32               We certainly can’t give up. 05:33
05:33               We must continue to practice 05:36
05:37               so as to guide and encourage our young people. 05:43
05:43               We must encourage the young people 05:47
05:47               to continue and make progress. 05:49/
05:50               There aren’t many of my colleagues left any more, 05:52
05:52               a lot have already died. 05:53
05:53               But there’s a handful still left. 05:55
05:55               We, the popular painters, 05:56/
05:56               have to persevere 05:58
05:58               so that young people will continue the profession 06:02
06:02               and so that popular art doesn’t disappear 06:06
06:06               and will continue to advance. 06:11
06:12               That’s what I had to say. 06:16

Interviews door Sinzo Aanza: #4 Bienvenu Nanga

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 3): Bienvenu Nanga & Daniel Toya (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 4: Bienvenu Nanga


00:00    My name is Bienvenu Nanga. 00:01
00:02    I am a sculptor and marketeer. 00:04
00:04     I studied sculpture 00:06
00:06     at the Academy of Fine Arts. 00:07
00:07     But I interrupted my studies 00:08
00:08     to learn on the job. 00:09
00:09    So in fact I’m self-taught 00:10
00:11    in sculpture. 00:12/
00:15     In the beginning 00:16
00:16     I worked via recycling. 00:20
00:20     I repaired unused objects. 00:21
00:25    But beyond that 00:27
00:27     I also do many other things: 00:29
00:30     wooden sculptures, 00:32
00:32    different types of sculptures. 00:34
00:35    Through art I give expression 00:36
00:37     to everything that happens in society. 00:38
00:39     I also have many other sources of inspiration. 00:43
00:44     I’m not set in my ways, 00:46
00:46     I always have lots of ideas. 00:52
00:52    I can’t realise them all 00:53
00:54    due to a lack of resources. 00:58
00:59     I have lots of ideas 01:00
01 :00    for making sculptures. 01 :01
01 :01   I draw inspiration from everything, 01 :05
01 :05   wherever I may be: 01 :06
01 :06   in the woods, … I literally work everywhere. 01 :10
01 :10    On wood, on metal, on rubber, and so on. 01 :16
01 :16   Actually I work on everything. 01 :26
01 :28   I also make animated sculptures, 01 :30
01 :31   moving elements. 01 :32
01 :32    That’s what interests me now. 01 :34
01 :34   It’s not yet popular here. 01 :37
01 :37    The Swiss do it often, 01 :40
01 :40    like Jean Tinguely… 01 :44
01 :45    there’s also Panamarenko in Belgium. 01 :50
01 :51   Those sorts of sculptures are what I like making most. 01 :53/
01 :53    There are various ideas in them. 01 :55
01 :55    I have developed a project: 01 :57
01 :57    a concert of robots… 01 :59
01 :59    moving robots perform the concert, 02 :00
02 :00    with me on guitar. 02 :04
02 :05    That is the project 02 :06
02 :06    that I’m soon going to present. 02 :08
02 :08    I still need to find a place for it. 02 :10
02 :10    Another project is called langard. 02 :12
02 :13   Langard is an artistic language 02 :14
02 :14   where moving structures 02 :16
02 :16   are projected onto a wall. 02 :18
02 :18   They move a lot. 02 :20
02 :21   There are lots of projects to realise 02 :22
02 :22   but we don’t have any resources. 02 :28
02 :29   Copyrights are a problem in Congo. 02 :32
02 :33   It is so complicated… 02 :34
02 :34   that we no longer count on it. 02 :41
02 :43   I have made robots to order 02 :46
02 :46   for a French collector, 02 :48
02 :48 André Magnin. 02 :49
02 :49   He ordered robots … 02 :55
02 :57   and UFO’s. 02 :58
02 :58   In the beginning he ordered occasionally, 03 :02
03 :03   then his interest grew. 03 :11
03 :11   Then I had to make robots all the time 03 :12
03 :12   and the orders became more regular, 03 :14
03 :14   up to the point when I even had to decline them. 03 :16
03 :17   And because some of my pupils 03 :19
03 :19   had also learned to make robots 03 :22
03 :23   I avoided competing with them. 03 :25
03 :26   There is more to do than just making robots. 03 :29/
03 :29   But I did find making robots exciting 03 :35
03 :36   and also it was a French commission. 03 :38
03 :40   I did enjoy making robots 03 :41
03 :41   because it kept me active. 03 :42
03 :44   I can make 5 to 10 per week. 03 :48
03 :48    I have made so many. 03 :50
03 :50   Now I make fewer robots 03 :52
03 :52   in order to have more time for other projects, 03 :55
03 :55   not yet executed by others. 03 :59
03 :59   That’s coming. 04 :07
04 :08   I’d like to be able to implement 04 :10
04 :10   all my projects. 04 :15
04 :16   Because I have quite a few in mind. 04 :19
04 :19   But I have no resources to develop them. 04 :21
04 :22   With my own resources I can’t do anything. 04 :29
04 :30   I have many important ideas, 04 :35
04 :35   beautiful projects. 04 :38/
04 :41   It would be better 04 :43
04 :43   if in our country, 04 :47
04 :47   like in other countries, 04 :48
04 :48   exhibitions would be organised. 04 :54
04 :54   We do see exhibitions abroad, 04 :56
04 :56    and that hurts. 05 :01

‘Wanneer we spreken over kolonisatie’: boekclub 30.6.2018

In juni 2018 organiseert Mu.ZEE in samenwerking met het kunstenaarsduo Vesna Faassen en Lukas Verdijk – oftewel publieke acties – een traject rond de publicatie ‘Wanneer we spreken over kolonisatie’ (2017). Dit boek is de eerste Nederlandstalige bundeling van teksten over de kolonisatie geschreven door Congolese historici, opgeleid en werkzaam in de DR Congo. Op 30 juni 2018 analyseren en bespreken vijf Belgische Afro-descendant dekoloniale denkers de teksten uit de publicatie. Deze boekclub is mede samengesteld door Laura Nsengiyumva.

Uit de boekrecensie van De Wereld Morgen (11.3.2018):

“Uit de inleiding van het boek volgende verantwoording: “Nederlandstalige publicaties zijn er van antropologe Bambi Ceuppens en historicus Mathieu Zana Aziza Etambala. Beiden hebben een Congolese achtergrond, wonen in België en zijn actief betrokken in het hedendaagse postkoloniale debat in Vlaanderen. Zij zijn echter niet opgeleid en werkzaam aan een Congolese universiteit.” Voor het overige wordt de hedendaagse geschiedschrijving over Congo nog steeds bepaald door een groep witte Belgische mannen: Filip De Boeck, Lucas Catherine, Jef Geeraerts, Marc Hoogsteyns, Guy Poppe, David van Reybrouck, Marc Reynebeau, Guy Vanthemsche, Peter Verlinden, Rudi Vranckx en Ludo De Witte. Dit boek erkent de waarde van het werk dat deze personen hebben verricht en nog steeds verrichten (maar zijn er ook kritisch over). Toch kunnen de redacteurs van dit boek niet buiten de onaangename vaststelling “dat er in het huidige debat in Vlaanderen geen of nauwelijks plek is voor de Congolese stem”. De gevolgen zijn bekend. Vlamingen weten nog veel minder over het koloniale verleden dan hun Franstalige landgenoten. Er zijn “geen boeken van Congolese historici aanwezig op Vlaamse scholen”.”

“België heeft in feite nog altijd zijn koloniale en postkoloniale verantwoordelijkheid niet erkend. In het onderwijs komt die periode zo goed als niet aan bod. Vraag eender welke jonge Vlaming op straat wat de namen Patrice Lumumba of Mobutu Sese Seko hem/haar zeggen. De onwetendheid is enorm en dat is niet goed. Wie zijn geschiedenis niet kent is gedoemd om ze te herhalen. Hoe degelijk deze historische bijdragen zijn kan de lezer zelf beoordelen. Eén ding staat vast: het wordt dringend tijd dat de Congolese stem over de koloniale en postkoloniale periode wordt gehoord in Vlaanderen. Daar is dit boek een goed startpunt voor.”

Hana Miletic in Mu.ZEE en Wiels

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 3): Hana Miletic, White linen and acrylic, cream viscose and nylon, 2016 (links) (c) Kristien Daem

Hana Miletic presenteert haar werk tot 12 augustus 2018 in Wiels te Brussel. Het is het resultaat van samenwerkingen met weefateliers en reflectie over zorgzaamheid. In kapitalistische en patriarchale systemen wordt zorgwerk vaak ondergewaardeerd. Door co-creatie en onderzoek naar sociale netwerken, focust Miletic op subjectiviteit en engagement. In het kader hiervan organiseert Wiels ook verschillende activiteiten zoals lezingen, performances, filmvertoningen en workshops.

Meer info

Bloggers van ‘Oostende Ontdekt’ bezoeken Mu.ZEE

In het voorjaar van 2018 startte een groep jongeren met een migratieachtergrond de blog ‘Oostende Ontdekt’ in samenwerking met FMDO. Ze gaan samen de straat op om Oostende en haar inwoners beter te leren kennen. Op 23 mei 2018 brachten de bloggers een bezoekje aan Mu.ZEE. Curator Ilse Roosens gaf hen een rondleiding doorheen de verschillende tentoonstellingen.

Lees hun verslag en bekijk de foto’s op Oostende Ontdekt!

Interviews door Sinzo Aanza: #3 Turbo Lusavuvu Makaya

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 1): Paul Joostens, Turbo Lusavuvu Makaya & Bodys Isek Kingelez (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 3: Turbo Lusavuvu Makaya


00:01    Hello, I’m the artist Lusavuvu. 00:02
00:03    I’m a popular naive painter. 00:04
00:06    I’m here in the workshop of 00:08
00:08    Sim Simaro, 00:09
00:11    where I do all my painting, 00:14
00:14    and realise all of my professional work. 00:19/
00:21    I’m often inspired by the 00:24
00:24    commissions I receive. 00:27
00:28    I’m inspired by the different ideas 00:32
00:32    that I’m being asked to execute.  00:35
00:36    I’ll execute the idea and then use it 00:39
00:39    to guide my subsequent work. 00:41/
00:43    I can certainly have inspiration, 00:45
00:46    but often it’s the commissions, 00:51
00:51   and the ideas they contain, 00:59
01:00    that I have to accurately realise. 01:01
01:01    And then, according to my own talents, I execute the work 01:02
01:02    as it was requested, 01:04
01:04    or as it should be. 01:05
01:06    For example, to make a scene of a road, 01:08
01:08    or a house, or a journey. 01:10
01:11    To show travellers. 01:12
01:12    I do what I’m asked. 01:15/
01:18    Sometimes people query: 01:20
01:20    ‘Who did this work?’ 01:21
01:23    ‘Why present the idea this way?’ 01:25
01:26    ‘Do you believe in the ideas that you realise?’ 01:28/
01:29    I reply that 01:30
01:32    my work isn’t about my own ideas 01:33
01:33    but… the commission. 01:34
01:35    The work that springs from my own ideas 01:36
01:37    doesn’t stay long, 01:38
01:38    it disappears immediately. 01:39
01:40    This is my inspiration. 01:45
01:45    This is my work. 01:47/
01:48    So people give me an idea 01:49
01:49    and I will execute it. 01:49
01:51    Just as it reaches me. 01:53
01:54    But it won’t be the same every time. 01:56
01:56    Each time an idea, 01:58
01:58    execute and deliver. 01:59/
02:00    This work is… 02:01
02:02    I started when I was at school. 02:04
02:05    Drawing… 02:06
02:06    is my strength. 02:08
02:08    Lots of people told me 02:09
02:09    to do fine arts. 02:10
02:12    But it wasn’t possible for me. 02:15
02:15    Then, through acquaintances, 02:18
02:19    I found myself here in the studio. 02:20/
02:23    Right now, our main concern 02:24
02:26    is uncertainty about the future. 02:29/
02:31    This is why I depict the idea of ‘life’.  02:34
02:39    I paint life as follows: 02:41
02:41    a woman lying down 02:43
02:44    inert, no happiness in life. 02:47
02:48    So, this is how I present life. 02:49/
02:49    Sometimes it’s just a hand 02:52
02:52    which symbolises… life. 02:54
02:55    Or maybe another part of the body. 02:56
02:57     This shows how 02:59
03:00    I worked without earning anything. 03:02
03:03    I worked for nothing, 03:06
03:06    without an income, without any result. 03:08/
03:09    Life: mankind represented by a hand 03:10
03:11    or something else. 03:12
03:12    And so on. 03:14/
03:15    Concerning copyright, 03:18
03:24    this has never bothered me. 03:30
03:31    I’m always here in the studio 03:34
03:37    or engaged in exhibitions. 03:38
03:39    In the… 03:43
03:43    cultural centres here. 03:45
03:46    But not yet abroad.  03:48
03:49    Copyright, 03:52
03:54    I’ve never received anything. 03:57
03:57    Nor any other kind of income. 04:00
04:00    I live on 04:01
04:01    the commissions I receive. 04:03
04:04    Whether it’s paintings 04:06
04:07    or drawings. 04:08
04:09    I do my work and I get paid. 04:11
04:11    I live on these commissions. 04:13
04:15    That’s the way it is. 04:17/
04:17    I’ve exhibited in Europe before, 04:19
04:20    and here too. 04:21
04:22    But I’ve never received a fee. 04:24
04:24    Perhaps it will be different this time. 04:27
04:28    It’s been suggested. 04:29
04:29    If so, it will be the first time. 04:31
04:31    Well, I’ll wait and see. 04:33//

Wanneer we spreken over kolonisatie: salongesprek 9.6.2018

In juni 2018 organiseert Mu.ZEE in samenwerking met het kunstenaarsduo Vesna Faassen en Lukas Verdijk – oftewel publieke acties – een traject rond de publicatie ‘Wanneer we spreken over kolonisatie’ (2017). Dit boek is de eerste Nederlandstalige bundeling van teksten over de kolonisatie geschreven door Congolese historici, opgeleid en werkzaam in de DR Congo. Tijdens het panelgesprek op 9 juni 2018 spreken Nadia Nsayi en Ludo De Witte over de (mogelijke) toekomst van een wereld zonder kolonisatie. Dit gesprek is gemodereerd door KifKif.

Wat is kolonialisme? Bestaat kolonialisme anno 2018 nog? Welke gevolgen heeft het kolonialisme voor onze dagelijkse praktijk? Wat is dekolonisering? Is er een wereld mogelijk zonder kolonialisme? Na een inleiding over het boekproject gaan Nadia Nsayi en Ludo De Witte tijdens het salongesprek in op deze vragen. Vervolgens is er ruimte voor een vragenronde vanuit het publiek.

Nadia Nsayi is sinds 2010 beleidsmedewerker Centraal-Afrika bij Pax Christi Vlaanderen en de ontwikkelingsorganisatie Broederlijk Delen. De focus van haar werk ligt op vrede en inspraak in Congo met bijzondere aandacht voor de hoofdstad Kinshasa en de conflictzones Noord- en Zuid-Kivu. Daarnaast volgt ze ook de situatie in de buurlanden Rwanda en Burundi op.

Ludo De Witte is socioloog en auteur van Als de laatste boom geveld is, eten we ons geld wel op. Het kapitalisme versus de aarde (2017), Huurlingen, geheim agenten en diplomaten (2014), Wie is bang voor moslims (2004) en De moord op Lumumba (1999).

Een fotoverslag door ‘Publieke acties’:

Interviews door Sinzo Aanza: #2 Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga

Tentoonstellingszicht ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’ (episode 3): Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, z.t., 2015, privécollectie (c) Kristien Daem

Sinzo Aanza is cocurator van de tentoonstelling ‘Een gesprek tussen collecties uit Kinshasa en Oostende’. Hij interviewde acht kunstenaars die leven en werken Kinshasa en wiens werk in langdurige bruikleen in Mu.ZEE aanwezig is. De gesprekken gaan voornamelijk (gedeeltelijk) door in het Lingala omdat dit de kunstenaars toelaat op een vrijere manier te spreken over hun werk. Voor de vertaling werkt Mu.ZEE samen met Universiteit Gent. De acht interviews zullen allemaal beschikbaar worden gemaakt via deze blog.

# 2: Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga


0:00-0:17        First of all, I can say that I’m a selfish artist.
0:17-0:20        Because when I’m working,
0:20-0:27        it’s difficult for me to think about the finished work.
0:27-0:33        When I’m working, I think mainly about myself.
0:33-0:41        It’s as if I’m looking for a kind of cure while I’m working.
0:42-0:43        In the first place, for myself.
0:44-0:52        But at the same time, my work also sheds light on the society in which I live.
0:53-0:54        Kinshasa and Congo.
0:55-1:00        And I also make references to historical facts,
1:01-1:04        and to ancient times,
1:05-1:10        in order to conduct a study
1:10-1:13        into the effects of the past on the present.
1:15-1:18        At the same time, I realise that there’s a problem in Congo.
1:18-1:22        The Congolese society is one of them,
1:22-1:25        because it has no actual connection with art.
1:25-1:33        It’s a society that’s fallen victim to a sort of exclusion.
1:33-1:37        As if people have been cut off from art.
1:38-1:44        These are the questions I ask myself during the course of my work.
1:45-1:54        How to restore the connection between Congolese society and art.
1:56-2:01        And I always try to do that differently.
2:02-2:04        But with regard to the finished work,
2:04-2:16        It’s important, for me, that my artworks end up in museums.
2:17-2:20        I mean museums all over the world.
2:20-2:23        Also in Kinshasa.
2:24-2:29        I hope that, in time, there will be more museums in Kinshasa.
2:30-2:37        When I talk about museums, I’m thinking specifically about preservation.
2:38-2:46        Congolese artists have always loved to create works of art for their society.
2:47-2:50        Yet the problem of preservation still isn’t resolved.
2:50-2:53        It’s really not working, you see?
2:54-2:56        And I also have the idea –
2:57-3:04        I always dream of being able to donate my works to Congolese museums.
3:05-3:09        For example, the Musée de l’Echangeur.
3:10-3:14        It’s too bad, because every time I go there,
3:18-3:19        I see that from a conservation standpoint it’s not worth donating my work.
3:20-3:23        I can donate an artwork to Kin ArtStudio
3:23-3:29        This happens a lot, so I’ll also donate.
3:30-3:37        But at the same time, as an artist, it’s also important
3:38-3:42        to use my art to create a kind of connection with Congolese society.
3:43-3:50        And, for the moment, I’m thinking about how I can realise that connection.
3:51-3:54        I’m trying to set up a project
3:55-4:02        to help get rid of that exclusion.
4:03-4:08        This exclusion, which dates back to the past,
4:09-4:12        and which has severed the connection between art and society.
4:13-4:16        I’m trying to launch just such a project.
4:16-4:18        I’m mulling it over.
4:18-4:23        I believe that by next year,
4:24-4:26        I’ll be ready to put this project in place.
4:27-4:32        And it’s a project that’s really directed towards society.
4:33-4:36        It might not involve making exhibitions in public spaces.
4:38-4:43        But trying, for example, to show films of my work,
4:44-4:48        or films by other Congolese artists,
4:49-4:51        or, why not, by other people as well.
4:52-5:00        To try and offer to the public, to society, the work we do.
5:01-5:04        And also the work that I produce.
5:05-5:12        In the end, to try and convey the reflections that I make through my own work.