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Democratic Republic of Congo: Christian Tundula


Born in Kinshasa in 1978, Christian Tundula divides his time between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bruges, in Belgium. He studied visual communication at the Academy of Fine Art in Kinshasa and attended the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. In 2005 he was artist in residence at the Blachère Foundation in Apt, in Southern France, and has exhibited at the Pan-African Photography Encounters in Johannesburg.

“Kin Kiese means Kinshasa the Joyful. This series was made in the Ngwaka neighbourhood where I grew up, and focuses on dance and music that are an integral part of life in the city. It’s often said that dancing allows the expression of the inexpressible by putting one’s experience into movement rather than words. This is certainly true of the Fioti Fioti and the Kadogos in Kinshasa: girl dancers recruited very young – too young – by street bands to dance the pululu, the kila mogroso and the zembe: their frenzied, staccato movements are inspired by the gang fights that go on in some parts of town.”

An experimental chronicle of the life of a neighbourhood, Kin Kiese follows one of these girls, who sometimes dances herself into a trance state. A series of videos shows the same scenes, with the addition of music and the sounds of the city. In a country where political instability has hampered the development of photography – local practice is limited to weddings, baptisms and funerals – Christian Tundula takes an overtly artistic stance. He is one of many in his generation, including Sammy Baloji, Kiripi Siku Katex, Gulda el Magambo, Simon Tshiamala and Alain Polo, to have explored, over the last fifteen years, the artistic potential of photography in their country.

Christine Eyene, commissaire | curator

Text from the catalogue-book “Photoquai”, co-edited by Musée du Quai Branly- Actes-Sud

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