Saturday, March 4, 2017

fine art kinshasa

so on sunday it was so hot we went to the pool. felt pretty classy to be sipping a gin and tonic and then get a call from an artist i had met on the first night, asking if i wanted to come by his "atelier." 
well sure! he seemed to push a bit on the time, like really, you need to be here by 5, but jeanne and i were enjoying the sun and breezy palms, it was hard to motivate. so finally we get to bandal and it's pitch black. cloudy pitch black but also the entire neighborhood cloaked in darkness from an afternoon power outage. we are calling the artist navigating for directions and trying to avoid the mud paths and ghostlike silhouettes who are all in the same situation. we enter a little courtyard with women cooking over coal fires, meowing and fighting cats, and at the end, our host tells us he will quickly go out to get batteries for the flashlights, but in the meantime, sit here and -woof! on come the lights! what luck.

the atelier
we are at dollet malulu's tiny workshop/kitchen/bedroom/livingroom. in less than 10m2 of space, there are 4 or so giant canvases on the wall. i am immediately drawn to one, but it's not just this tiny space that makes it look big - it's actually big. more than 3m on a side, there's no way i can carry that home, even rolled up.
i bought this

 i look over a few other pieces and i'm like, ok, so...that's it? but it's not. he starts to pull out bits and pieces of his art, from behind a wall, under a chair, he starts rolling out these pieces. each one has a long story, which draws you into each work, they always start with a congolese celebrity, sapeur or musician and weave into this and that. we must have looked at 100 paintings. sipping on a giant nkoyi, we are almost all the way through when i decide on one of the first ones. it's of julie dzikey, one of congo's first female performance artists, who, coincidentally now lives in Germany. everyone adds their crazy julie dzikey story and i'm even more enraptured. 
i know what i have in my wallet, and it's hard to negotiate with someone who's life is this room, his visa to go to his own openings in Spain were denied, so all he can show me are fuzzy cell phone photos from someone else. i want to give him a good price, but i also don't want to be insulting..-we finally agree and i'm high fiving jeanne on my first purchase of fine art! and what a scene...little kids with bulging eyes are watching me timidly from behind some drying bedsheets, some skinny chickens and the smell of pee wafting from another courtyard. well, whatever, i'm the proud owner of a dollet malulu!

1 comment:

Charabia44 said...

C'est super que tu investisses dans l'art. Imagine si j'avais acheté les grands Doppeldenk à 100 euros à la première expo de la piscine !!