Artists in residence: Congo Far West

Photographer Sammy Baloji and writer Patrick Mudekereza, young figures in the Lubumbashi cultural scene, were asked to become artists in residence at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in collaboration with the University of Ghent.


During their stint at the museum, they entered a dialogue with a multidisciplinary scientific team which led to the production of a range of works. This project, dubbed 'Congo Far West' by the artists, invites greater reflection on the ties between the museum's collections and the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo.


The notion 'Far West' is a leitmotif repeated throughout the three parts* of the exhibit.
While alluding to some colonial outposts of the early decades of colonization, it reminds us that the Congo itself was sometimes compared to the 'Far West'.
But 'Far West' also refers to the artistic operation of reappropriating collections stored in the Museum that through the artists' gaze can also inspire new scholarly research.


* The three parts of the exhibit:

Retracing Charles Lemaire's expedition

Sammy Baloji revisiting photos and watercolours from the expedition led by Charles Lemaire in Katanga (1898).

The art in Congo?

Patrick Mudekereza revisiting a hybrid sculpture entitled L'Art au Congo (early 20th century).

(Mis)treated treaties

Patrick Mudekereza revisiting a series of treaties signed between European agents and dignitaries of the Lower Congo in the late 19th century.