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Moridja Kitenge Banza is a Canadian artist of Congolese origin, living in Montreal.
He is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts of Kinshasa, the Higher School of Fine Arts of Nantes Metropole.
In 2010, he received the 1st prize of the Biennale of Contemporary African Art. He received a Sobey Award in 2020. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is currently presenting a large installation of the artist; And the Light Was.
His work has been shown at the Musée Dauphinois (Grenoble, France), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Rosklide, Denmark), the Arndt Gallery and Ngbk (Berlin, Germany), the Casablanca International Biennial (Casablanca, Morocco), the Fondation Blachère (Apt, France), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal, Canada), the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Canada).
Approach and works on display
A multidisciplinary artist, Moridja Kitenge Banza’s work questions the history, memory and identity of the places he inhabits and the place he occupies within them.
Through his work, he mixes reality and fiction in order to disrupt hegemonic narratives and create spaces where marginal discourse can exist.
By drawing from current to ancient realities, he organizes, assembles, and traces figures. Moridja Kitenge Banza revisits parts of his history, reappropriating the codes of religious, cultural, political, social and economic representations, in order to highlight the contradictions that construct his identities.
Thus, he makes his own tools to better invest the territory of the other and feed all these fields of research that inspire his practice.
Respirer en Kiluba (2020)
Kiluba is the language spoken by the Luba in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This proposal is inspired by a song sung during the secession of Katanga, on the period following the “independence” of Congo. This song, which the artist’s father sang as a child, was intended to tell those who wanted Katanga’s separation that their ancestors’ land would never be divided for the benefit of the colonist. That they were all ready to die for the unity of this territory. By reappropriating this song, Moridja Kitenge Banza makes her own the battle over her right to exist. Her right to be one with the place I inhabit… A right that I refuse to negotiate.
This work is not only a reflection on the colonial system and its ramifications, but also on its impact on a population, even several centuries later. It is also a statement about what Moridja Kitenge Banza refuses to be: a person who must negotiate her right to exist.