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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

On View: Double Take Installation, East Gallery, 1st Floor
Both of these very different Congolese works are deeply emotional expressions. One was commissioned to resolve a personal trama, 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.
MEDIUM Oil on fabric
DATES ca. 1975
DIMENSIONS 15 x 23 3/4 in. (38.1 x 60.3 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "Tshibumba / K M"
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Double Take Installation, East Gallery, 1st Floor
CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Ellen and Jerome L. Stern
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CAPTION Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (Democratic Republic of the Congo, born 1947; active 1969-1981). 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
IMAGE overall, 2010.1_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
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The Martyrs of the Union Minière du Haut Katanga at the Stadium Formerly Called Albert I, now Mobutu, Kenia Township, Lubumbashi