The 6th edition of the Biennale de Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, entitled Future Genealogies, Tales From The Equatorial Line, probes the possibilities of repurposing the cartography of the world.
One of the seven African countries crossed by the Equator, the Congo claims the longest segment of the parallel on the continent. This places the region not only at the heart of Africa, but also at the bisecting line of the globe, at the zone of intersection between southern and northern hemispheres. By asserting this position, the biennale reclaims its profound entanglement with the world and its globally central position, both past and present. The concept is to take the Equator’s imaginary line not as one of demarcation—the majestic Congo River disregards it by straddling it twice—but rather of imbrication. It wishes to explore the geographical paradox of being set in a region where history continues to be steeped in the depth of the soil’s resources, but whose unique position also has the potential to serve as a model to uproot established perspectives.
The two different seasons that simultaneously overlap in the country—above and below the median parallel—are inspiration to explore how different temporalities inform the present. Anchored in the history of the city and its photographic past, the Biennale is conceived as a two-folded platform—historical and contemporary. The historical axis revisits the local uses of photography in the Congo, both by the colonial propaganda and African practitioners of the time. Expanding on the reflection about the deconstruction of past narratives, the contemporary axis proposes to local and international artists to explore the modalities of inventing new constellations of ideas, persons and communities.
Taking Lubumbashi as a point of departure, the Biennale proposes to local and international artists to explore the modalities of inventing new constellations of ideas, persons and communities. How can we imagine present and future stories that do justice to other latitudes, and yet recognize the interdependence of our globe? At a time when the urgency of climate change relentlessly binds our common fates, it is imperative to decompartmentalize the old genealogies while projecting new entangled futures.
The 6th edition of the Biennale de Lubumbashi is curated by Sandrine Colard, a specialist of modern and contemporary African and global arts, a writer, and an independent curator.
The Biennale de Lubumbashi is an initiative of Picha, an independent art initiative that supports and promotes artistic creation in the DRC. It aims to further an artistic perspective on the indigenous reflection of the historical and social environment of Lubumbashi and the surrounding region.
The list of participating artists will be released in June.
WIELS Contemporary Art Centre partners with the Biennale de Lubumbashi by welcoming the exhibition Multiple Transmissions: Art in the Afropolitan Age, curated by artistic director Sandrine Colard. A section of the exhibition will travel to Lubumbashi to be included in the Biennale.
The exhibition Multiple Transmissions: Art in the Afropolitan Age, takes as its starting point the group of African artists who completed residences at WIELS between 2015 and 2019. Today an integral component of the art world landscape, residencies put artists in motion around the globe, while simultaneously immersing them in one place for a definite period of time. Artists, and African artists in particular, have become successive locals of multiple places and cities: they have become “Afropolitan” artists. Mainly developed by the thinker Achille Mbembe, the concept refers to the transnational cultures and aesthetic of 21st century African-identified urbanites. Both on and off the continent, these artists’ mental and physical itinerancies have made their mental geographies radically plural. Created between Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Johannesburg and Brussels, the residents’ productions are presented alongside a range of other art practices enmeshed in these global flows.
Multiple Transmissions: Art in the Afropolitan Age, is on view in Brussels from 25 May – 18 August 2019.
Artists: Nelson Makengo, Jean Katambayi, Georges Senga, Sinzo Aanza, Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Emeka Ogboh, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Pélagie Gbaguidi.