Megalopolis: Voices from Kinshasa

GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde, Leipzig, Germany
01 Dec 2018 - 31 Mar 2019

Azgard Itambo, from the photoseries “Moving Kinshasa,“ 2017. © GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig. Photo: Azgard Itambo.

Azgard Itambo, from the photoseries “Moving Kinshasa,“ 2017. © GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig. Photo: Azgard Itambo.

Of Africa’s 800 million inhabitants today, more than half will live in cities in 25 years’ time. With more than 12 million inhabitants, Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the third largest metropolis on the continent.

The urban reality of the African continent is rarely shown in ethnological museums. The GRASSI Museum of Ethnography focuses on this reality and gives 24 artists from Kinshasa a “carte blanche” to have their voices heard in the museum.

“In Kinshasa, everything is ART. City or art installation, in the open air, where each inhabitant of Kinshasa plays his or her part or gives his or her “performances” under a scorching sun. Despite the hunger that constricts their bellies, they are there!” –Jean Kamba, poet and art critic

The principle of the “carte blanche” changes the rules of the ethnological museum. The exhibition is not shown from the point of view of a European ethnologist; instead, the artists of Kinshasa are themselves conveying their concerns to museum visitors, without filters: Colonial past and its effects, violence, oppression of women, war, corruption, exploitation, environmental destruction, cultural heritage, spirituality, urban everyday life. Traditional sculptures and masks from the Congo appear in many of the contemporary works of art and thus link not only the past with the present, but also the museum’s Congo holdings with the metropolis of Kinshasa.


Anastasie Langu, Azgard Itambo, Chéri Benga, Danniel Toya, Dolet Malalu, Elie Mbansing, Eunice Kamanda, Flory Sinanduku, Francis Mampuya, Fransix Tenda, Gabriel Lukinga, Géraldine Tobe, Hervey Ngoma, Hilary Balu, Jean Kamba, Jean-Jacques Tankwey, Judith Kaluaji, Louison Mbeya, Mega Mingiedi, Nada Tshibuabua, Olivier Nalumbu, Serge Diakota, Steve Bandoma, Vincent Lombumbe

Curators: Eddy Ekete, Freddy Tsimba



GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig
Johannisplatz 5-11
04103 Leipzig



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