The Martyrs of the Union Minière du Haut Katanga at the Stadium Formerly Called 'Albert I', now 'Mobutu', Kenia Township, Lubumbashi
Tshibumba Kanda Matulu
Arts of Africa
ART OF TRAUMA
Both of these very different Congolese works are deeply emotional expressions. One was commissioned to resolve a personal trauma, while the other represents a viscerally remembered social upheaval from the colonial era.
Figures like this mother and child were believed to offer protection, through the intervention of spirits, by the Bwanga Bwa Cibola society. When a woman lost successive children through miscarriages or early infant death, she could be initiated into the society to protect herself from ominous forces suspected to be the cause of the deaths. This emotionally gripping figure is considered to be one of the great masterpieces of African art.
Tshibumba's painting depicts the slaughter of striking mineworkers in Lubumbashi at the order of the Belgian colonial government on December 9, 1941. The artist critiques the institutions complicit in the colonial system: Belgium (represented by the flag), the church, the mining company, the colonial governor (with arm raised), and the Congolese soldiers in the colonial army. Following independence in 1960, a market for narrative painting developed among urban Congolese who were working in mining factories and living in new, Western-style homes.
Oil on fabric
Signed lower left: "Tshibumba / K M"
Inscribed lower left to right: "LE 9 DEC 1941 A LUBUMBASHI MARTYRS de L'U.M.H.K (GOUVERNEUR MARRON)"
This item is not on view
Purchased with funds given by Ellen and Jerome L. Stern
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Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (Congolese, 1947-ca. 1981). The Martyrs of the Union Minière du Haut Katanga at the Stadium Formerly Called 'Albert I', now 'Mobutu', Kenia Township, Lubumbashi, ca. 1975. Oil on fabric
, 15 x 23 3/4 in. (38.1 x 60.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Ellen and Jerome L. Stern
, 2010.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2010.1_PS2.jpg)
overall, 2010.1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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