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Collective and solidary decolonial gestures in the context of the Lubumbashi Biennale

10 06 2023 16:00 18:00

A talk and a gathering on the projects developed by the Ateliers Picha

The not-for-profit, artists-led organization Picha from Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo) and WIELS present an afternoon dedicated to the site-specific projects developed in Lubumbashi by Picha, in the framework of its permanent educational programme, Ateliers Picha 2020-2022 Towards the Symbiotic Planet and the 7th edition of the Lubumbashi Biennale under the theme of Toxicity.

Two long-term, site-specific projects – both resulted in a publication - will be introduced for the first time in Belgium: Ex-Situ: Compatible avec la Vie and How a Little Pagan Hunter Becomes A Catholic Priest, respectively by the artists Luigi Coppola and Georges Senga. They are an invitation to further reflect on the environmental and global legacies of historical processes of colonialism and extractivism.


Arsène Mpiana


16:00-17:20 | Part 1, Auditorium

General presentation of the 7th Lubumbashi Biennale and Ateliers Picha

Focus on the two long term projects):

1. Georges Senga: Comment un petit chasseur païen devient prêtre catholique

Introduction with the artist + the publisher Kunstverein

2. Luigi Coppola: Ex-Situ

Introduction with the artists + the publisher Kunstverein

17:30 | Part 2, Mezzanine (WIELS bookshop)

Informal meetings around the books,

Situated at the crossroads of Congo’s pre- and post-colonial eras, the story of Bonaventure Salumu as richly explored and recounted by Georges Senga offers an unparalleled reading into the influence of the missionary enterprise on a whole generation of individuals’ trajectory and psyche. With Ex-Situ, Luigi Coppola elaborates on the potential of plants to heal polluted soil - or what is referred as phytoremediation - around mining areas. Relying on scientific evidence, resting on visuality and language, and nurturing care and co-creation, Coppola aims at elevating the matter to global and solidary community-practice.

These two projects, presented and developed in the context of the 7th edition of the Lubumbashi Biennale that took place from the 6th of October to the 6th of November 2022, ultimately seek to foster global awareness and envision collective spaces of dialogue and repairing gestures towards such legacies. Both resulted in editorial projects published by Kunstverein Publishing.

This event invites you to discover and engage with both projects in the backdrop of the association Picha’s Ateliers Programme which has offered a framework for these practices to unfold, and equally deserves much attention. The last session of the Ateliers Programme took place between January 2020 and the beginning of the 7th edition of the Biennale, and focused on developing the site-specific researches of a group of artists and cultural practitioners, specifically selected to work together towards the production of their participation (as individuals and/or collective) to the Biennale.

The programme saw the realization of several projects, among which a tribute to the late performer/choreographer Dorine Mokha in the framework of the Dorine Mokha Digital Archive, and led to exciting productions by the participants of this programme. This event will be the occasion to screen and showcase the works of Lambick Meli, Ariel Kasongo, Jackson Busaka & Justice Kasongo among others.

Ex-Situ Compatible Avec la Vie

Is a project conceived by Luigi Coppola, produced by Ramdom and Picha and supported by: “Italian Council”, a promotion program of Italian contemporary art in the world of the General Directorate of Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Publisher: Kunstverein Publishing Milano

Preface: Elizabeth Povinelli

Texts: Marco Armiero, Dalida Benfield, Bibitanko, Jackson Bukasa, Lucrezia Cippitelli, Luigi Coppola, Donatien Dibwe dia Mwembu, Edouard Ilunga Wa Ilunga, Petna Ndaliko Katondolo, John Mpaliza, Bazirake Basile Mujinya, Bérénice Mujinya Kweyi, Oduor Obura

Luigi Coppola is an artist, agroecologist, upholder of participatory projects driven by an innovative approach to the politics of the Commons and author of actions designed to activate collective potentials. His work is rooted in site-specific research of social, political, and cultural subjects, collectivization of goods, activation of relational dynamics and processes of emancipation and imagination.

How a Little Pagan Hunter Becomes A Catholic Priest

Is a project conceived by Georges Senga, produced by Senga Production and Arthub and supported by Mondriaan Funds and Museo delle Civiltà.

Publisher: Kunstverein Publishing Milano

Texts by: Lucrezia Cippitelli, Alexandre Mulongo Finkelstein, Ramcy Kabuya, Bibiche Tankama

Edited by: Katia Anguelova, Lucrezia Cippitelli, Andrea Wiarda

Georges Senga is an artist and photographer. He develops his photographic work around History and the stories revealed in “memory, identity and heritage”, shedding light on our actions and the present, exploring memory, in search of the resonances that men, their facts and objects leave behind, and the resilience of memory in his country, Congo.

Picha is an initiative which promotes artistic research and production, taking urban spaces as a stage and images as media. Picha aims to observe through an artistic perspective the city of Lubumbashi, its history, and its present complexities, with critical lenses informed with a strongly local and at the same time globally conscious approach. The organization grew up through the seventh editions of Lubumbashi Biennale, (initiated in 2008 as Rencontres Picha) and the development of Picha Art Center, which opened its doors in 2010. Picha is a unique structure in Lubumbashi, with its focus on education through art and decolonial narration of its context.