Like in many African countries, the contemporary art scene in the Democratic Republic of the Congo faces a dilemma with regard to how it is represented abroad. For decades, the global art market has defined Congolese art as “peinture populaire”. After the 1960s, the aesthetics of this specific popular painting style diverged from the academic, idealised style of the colonial period (1885 – 1960), and has since produced a small number of internationally acclaimed Congolese artists, the best-known of whom is Chéri Samba (*1956).

The exhibition “Congo Stars” by the Kunsthalle Tübingen in cooperation with the artists‘ collective PICHA in Lubumbashi and the Kunsthalle Graz aims to broaden this view and present the wealth, functions and lines of tradition of locally oriented popular painting in the Congo from the 1960s to the present. The exhibition features works collected by the famous Canadian historian and African Studies scholar Bogumil Jewsiewicki, which went on display at the Musée Royale de l'Afrique Centrale in Tervuren in 2013. The collection offers a far more comprehensive image of Congolese painting than is normally the case on the international art market. In the exhibition, the Kunsthalle Tübingen presents locally oriented and internationally successful popular Congolese painting, and compares it to contemporary pop art in other media. Arranged according to thematic areas and recurring motifs, the exhibition sheds light on the changing social and political circumstances and offer insights into today’s popular art trends. It also examines the state of popular art in the Congo today and what international markets and exhibitions regard as popular art from the Congo.

Curators: Sammy Baloji (CD), Bambi Ceuppens (BE), Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Günther Holler-Schuster, Barbara Steiner (AT)
Participating artists: Alfi Alfa (Alafu Bulongo), Apollo, Prince Badra, Sammy Baloji, David N. Bernatchez, Kiripi, Gilbert Banza Nkulu, Chéri Benga (Hyppolite Benga Nzau), Junior Bilaka, Bodo (Camille-Pierre Pambu Bodo),  Claude Bosana, Dominique Bwalya Mwando, Chéri Cherin, (Joseph Kinkonda), Trésor Cherin, (Nzeza Lumbu), Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen, Revital Cohen, Edisak, Ekunde (Bosoku), Sam Ilus (Mbombe Ilunga), Jean Kamba, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Kasongo, Jean Mukendi Katambayi, Kayembe F, Aundu Kiala, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Ange Kumbi, Hilaire Balu Kuyangiko, Lady Kambulu, Gosette Lubondo, Lukany, Ernest Lungieki, George Makaya Lusavuvu, Tinda Lwimba, Michèle Magema, Maho Zaire, Mampela, Manuva Mani, Maurice Mbikayi, Mbuëcky Jumeaux (oder: Mbvecky Frères), Micha JP Mika (Jean Paul Nsimba), Mega Mingiedi Tunga, Moke (Monsengo Kejwamfi), Moke-Fils (Jean Marie Mosengo Odia), Mson Becha Shérif Decor, Musondo, Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo, Nkaz Mav, Vincent Nkulu, Chéri Samba (Samba wa Mbimba N’Zingo Nuni Masi Ndo Mbasi), SAPINart (Makengele Mamungwa), Monsengo Shula, Sim Simaro (Nsingi Simon), Soku Ldj, Maître SYMS (Bayangu Mayala), Marciano Tajho, Tambwe, Tshibumba Kanda Matulu, Pathy Tshindele Kapinga, Turbo


23.9.2018 - 20.1.2019, Kunsthaus Graz

TURN – Fund for Artistic Co­oper­a­tion between Ger­many and African Coun­tries

In 2012, the Federal Cultural Foundation established the TURN – Fund for Artistic Cooperation between Germany and African Countries in order to encourage a wide range of German institutions to shift their focus on the artistic production and cultural debates in African countries.

More about the TURN Fund

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