DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Jean Katambayi Mukendi


Lukutu: plastics, electronic, liquid on cardboard, 130x60x60cm, 2013, © Marcel Mukendi.
Taton: biomass, plastics, electronics on cardboard, 40x50x40 cm, 2013, © Marcel Mukendi.

Jean Katambayi Mukendi’s work is atypical and complex. Between resourcefulness art and scientific experiments, his work covers economic and social issues that are revealed not only by the aesthetics of the works but also by their thematic: education, energy, health. The peculiarity of this work is the use of common materials diverted or reproduction of everyday objects from recycled materials. The work Lutuku, addresses a public health problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo. By representing a makeshift alembic Katambayi reveals the realities of manufacturing and marketing Lutuku, a highly alcoholic whiskey produced by distilling fermented corn. Already prohibited by the colonial administration, the lutuku is the cause of a sanitary hecatomb, sickening the population. But lutuku is also the symbol of a strong social malaise. In Lubumbashi, Congo mining centre, the lutuku became the refuge of an exploited, yet aware of the risks, population. Women who produce the beverage are also exposed to toxic fumes. They try to survive in a country that fights consequences rather than the causes.

Born in 1974, Jean Katambayi Mukendi lives in Lubumbashi, Katanga (DR Congo). He grew up in the environment of a steel factory and in settlement camps where life is shaped by the colonial history. Jean started from childhood to spend hours creating, particularly when teenager, he believed he could transform all routines of society. Cardboard is a basic material, ready to use and perfect for him to demonstrate that transformation is possible. The practice of Jean is an interaction between concepts and the operation of society. Jean spend hours cutting, drawing, grafting, recycling, assembling based on mathematics, dreamed algorithms, electricity (which cut-off are a serious matter for Africa) to achieve dream machines. Jean is now interested in digital applications after encounters with artists such as Fenshu Toons in collective Digibap and Digital Africa. Jean believes that Africa will be able to become an active exchange hub in the world.

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