Mbula Matari I, 2019
Edition of 5
CM H 104 W 154
IN H 40.94 W 60.63
Mbula Matari I, 2019
For Maurice Mbikayi, the stuff of Western dystopian fiction is, in fact, an African reality. In Mbikayi’s DRC, colonialism and its afterlives have left the country largely in a state of crisis — politically, economically, and socially. Corruption is set as policy. Resources continue to be appropriated for Western profit. At the same time the world obsesses over cryptocurrency mining, it becomes all the more dependent on African mining industries – such as gold and cobalt – to engineer and power computers and smartphones.
Maurice Mbikayi asks, what happens when everything falls apart? What happens if the Internet crashes, or mobile money flops? Mbikayi incorporates the rubble into his work, resulting in sculptures, photographs and performances that link the materials back to their political contexts.
Several sculptures seem to haunt the gallery space, memorials to ongoing histories of labour exploitation. Pregnant women, their baskets full of baby clothes, are surrounded by guns, an allegory for the many ways in which violence at the hands of the West has thwarted the continent’s attempts to birth its renaissance.
Coucou is a French slang greeting that derives from the noise a cuckoo clock makes. Coucou Crumble says, ‘Time’s up.’ When things fall unmanageably apart, who will suffer? Who will be held accountable? Who will control our resources, material and electronic? Mbikayi is not afraid to call out the systemic powers that be, and imagines a future in which African people can reinvent themselves out of the chaos.
Maurice Mbikayi nterrogates the proliferation of technological commerce in our geopolitical system. Technology’s reliance on mining for resources, for instance, has made African countries and their people vulnerable to resource extraction and low-wage labour abuse. Mbikayi collects remnants of this rapidly developing technology and incorporates them in his work, resulting in sculptures, photographs and performances that link the materials back to their political contexts.
Maurice Mbikayi was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. He graduated with a BA in Graphic Design (Advertising and Visual Communication), from the Academies des Beaux-Arts in Kinshasa. He completed his Master of Fine Arts degree (with distinction) in 2015 at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.
Mbikayi has been featured in exhibitions globally, including, among others, Belgium, Cuba, Italy, Malta, Austria, France, Switzerland, Senegal, South Africa, the DRC, and the USA. Mostly recently, Mbikayi has been included in Congo Stars, a survey of Congolese art from the 1960s to today, at the Kunsthaus Graz Museum in Austria, as well as ‘Digital Imaginaries: Africas in Production,’ a collaboration between the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg, Kër Thiossane in Dakar and ZKM in Karlsruhe.
He was selected as one of the finalists of Luxembourg Art Prize in 2016 and was selected as a core participant in the ‘Between the Lines’ symposium of 2013, an exchange between Michaelis and the Braunschweig University of Art in Germany.
He also took part in the S...Read more
Gallery MOMO is a contemporary art gallery with a focus on African art and art from the Diaspora. The gallery has spaces in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.
Since opening their doors in 2002, Gallery MOMO has developed a strong creative and intellectual platform for showcasing a substantial portfolio of South African, continental and international contemporary art.
The gallery also manage the estates of notable 20th century South African masters.
Gallery MOMO hosts a residency programme for local and international curators and artists where we aim to encourage an international dialogue and cooperation between artists from different parts of the world.
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