•Showcases paintings by innovative Congolese artists from Lubumbashi, Kinshasa, Bunia, Mbandaka, Kikwit and Kisangani•Explores the concept of painting as visual memoryPainting was one of the defining factors in the formation of Congolese national culture during the seventies and eighties. Looking back on works from this era, we gain a clear impression of the country's collective memory. The exhibition of paintings featured in this book explores the development of Congolese society from 1968-2012. Portraits, landscapes and allegorical paintings alternate with urban scenes, historical figures and critical reflections on religion, politics and social problems. Humor is never far away. Historical objects, photos, drawings and archive footage provide a broader perspective, and similarities to older art forms and other genres from Congo are clearly visible. The importance of popular paintings is not fundamentally different from that of more traditionally respected art; both are crucial reflections on their contexts, and informed the development of Congolese society.
Bambi Ceuppens has a Phd in social anthropology, and has lectured at universities in Edinburgh, Manchester, St Andrews and Ghent. She is now a senior researcher at MRAC Tervuren, where she sudies the colonial history of Belgian Congo and popular Congolese culture. The works of photographer Sammy Baloji are exhibited in Tate Modern, Musée du Quai Branly, Smithsonian... He also participated at the Venice Biennale and the Lyon Biennale. In 2010 he founded 'Picha' (image in Swahili) to endorse the development of local artist practices. Bogumil Jewsiewicki is an Africanist and lectured at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada where he held the Canadian Research Chair in Comparative History of Memory. He has published works relating to the cultural history and social memory of 20th century Congo, especially on visual culture. In addition, he curated exhibitions on Congolese popular urban painting and on photography in the USA and in Europe. Dirk Huylenbroek works for the faculty of architecture at Leuven University.