Lumumba’s Iconography in the Arts

Edited by Matthias De Groof

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Edited volume - paperback

Lumumba as a symbol of decolonisation and as an icon in the arts

It is no coincidence that a historical figure such as Patrice Emery Lumumba, independent Congo’s first prime minister, who was killed in 1961, has lived in the realm of the cultural imaginary and occupied an afterlife in the arts. After all, his project remained unfinished and his corpse unburied. The figure of Lumumba has been imagined through painting, photography, cinema, poetry, literature, theatre, music, sculpture, fashion, cartoons and stamps, and also through historiography and in public space. Reverting to either beatifying or diabolising his persona, no art form has been able to escape and remain indifferent to Lumumba. Artists observe the memory and the unresolved suffering that inscribed itself both upon Lumumba’s body and within the history of Congo. If Lumumba – as an icon – lives on today, it is because the need for decolonisation does as well.

Rather than seeking to unravel the truth of actual events surrounding the historical Lumumba, this book engages with his representations. What is more, it considers every historiography as inherently embedded in iconography. Film scholars, art critics, historians, philosophers, and anthropologists discuss the rich iconographic heritage inspired by Lumumba. Furthermore, Lumumba’s Iconography in the Arts offers unique testimonies by a number of artists who have contributed to Lumumba's polymorphic iconography, such as Marlène Dumas, Luc Tuymans, Raoul Peck, and Tshibumba Matulu, and includes contributions by such highly acclaimed scholars as Gayatri Spivak, Johannes Fabian, Bogumil Jewsiewicky, and Elikia M’Bokolo.

Contributors: Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda (artist), Bogumil Jewsiewicki (em., Université Laval), Christopher L. Miller (Yale University), Elikia M’Bokolo (EHESS), Gayatri Spivak (Columbia University), Gert Huskens (ULB), Idesbald Goddeeris (KU Leuven), Isabelle de Rezende (Central Washington University), Jean Tshonda Omasombo (Africa Museum), Johannes Fabian (em., University of Amsterdam), Julien Truddaïu (CEC), Karen Bouwer (University of San Francisco), Léon Tsambu (University of Kinshasa), Luc Tuymans (artist), Mark Sealy (Autograph – ABP), Marlène Dumas (artist), Pedro Monaville (NYU), Pierre Petit (ULB), Piet Defraeye (University of Alberta), Raoul Peck (artist), Robbert Jacobs (artist), Rosario Giordano (Università della Calabria), Tshibumba Matulu (artist), Véronique Bragard (UCLouvain), Zana Etambala (AfricaMuseum)

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 285 × 195 mm

400 pages

ISBN: 9789462701748

Publication: July 15, 2019

Languages: English

Matthias De Groof is scholar and filmmaker. He became Fulbright scholar at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Postdoctoral Fellow (FWO) at the University of Antwerp and Fellow at the Collegium for Advanced Studies in Helsinki. His latest films include 'Lobi Kuna' (2018), 'Diorama' (2018) and 'Palimpsest' (2019).