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The Africa Center does not have any exhibitions currently on view while construction takes place at our new home at Fifth Avenue and 110th Street in Manhattan.

As the Museum for African Art, we organized nearly 70 exhibitions that traveled to over 143 venues in 17 countries, bringing the art and cultures of Africa to a wide array of audiences worldwide. Museum for African Art exhibitions are widely recognized for pioneering the way African art is seen and understood, presenting insightful perspectives on the rich diversity of African art and cultures.

A Congo Chronicle: Patrice Lumumba in Urban Art

Votez tous M.N.C.-L. Liste No. 4. Campagne lectorale (1959)[Cast Your Vote for Lumumba. Election campaign, 1959]. By Kalume. Oil on fabric.

Congolese urban art, or popular painting, is a primary medium of urban cultural memory in the Congo. The popular paintings in A Congo Chronicle trace Lumumba's story from his winning the national elections during the period preceding the Congo's accession to independence, his daring independence tirade, and his subsequent removal from power and execution.

These popular depictions of Patrice Lumumba exemplify the Congolese tradition of venerating mythic or cultural heroes. Just as classical African sculptures portrayed cultural innovators, urban art helped transform Lumumba into a powerful symbol. Made to be within the buying power of the urban middle classes, these paintings could be reproduced, hung in homes, and have major political effect in a country where many people did not read or have access to mass media. Through these paintings, the viewer gains insight into the popular issues of the era and understands how visual arts can shape national consciousness.

A Congo Chronicle: Patrice Lumumba in Urban Art is organized by the Museum for African Art, New York.

A 110-page full-color catalogue by guest curator Bogumil Jewsiewicki of Laval University, Quebec, with essays by contributing scholars Jean Omasombo Tshonda, Nyunda ya Rubango, Dibwe dia Mwembu, and Mary Nooter Roberts and Allen F. Roberts accompanies the exhibition.

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