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Yours, KOW

Plantations and Museums, 2021

6–channel video


A series of six short documentary films follows CATPC’s Mathieu Kasiama and Cedart Tamasala as they search for an important sculpture that their community has lost decades ago and that they hope to return to Lusanga. The sculpture was made by the Pende in 1931 in an effort to control the spirit of the Belgian officer Maximilien Balot, who was decapitated in an act of rebellion after committing rapes and other atrocities.

Kasiama and Tamasala travel to the Pende revolt’s battlefield and to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, USA, where the Balot sculpture is now held. They talk to experts in the postcolonial discourse, unravel the hidden interconnections between the plantations of the South and the museums of the North, and visit the collector who acquired the sculpture in 1972 and later sold it to the Virginia Museum. Kasiama and Tamasala show up at the museum to demand that the sculpture be given back as a loan, in vain.

Eine Serie sechs kurzer Dokumentarfilme begleitet die CATPC-Mitglieder Mathieu Kasiama und Cedart Tamasala bei der Suche nach einer wichtigen Skulptur, die ihre Gemeinschaft einst verlor und die sie nach Lusanga zurückholen wollen. Die Skulptur wurde 1931 von den Pende gefertigt, um den Geist des belgischen Offiziers Maximilien Balot zu bannen, der nach Vergewaltigungen und anderen Grausamkeiten in einem Akt der Rebellion enthauptet wurde.

Kasiama und Tamasala reisen zum Schlachtfeld des Pende-Aufstands und zum Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, USA, wo die Balot-Skulptur aufbewahrt wird. Sie sprechen mit Expert*innen für den postkolonialen Diskurs, enthüllen verborgene Beziehungen zwischen den Plantagen im Süden und den Museen im Norden, und besuchen den Sammler, der die Skulptur 1972 erwarb und später an das Virginia Museum verkaufte. Dort vor Ort fordern Kasiama und Tamasala die Leihgabe der Skulptur, vergeblich.

6–channel video
episode 1 with Antoine Sikitele
episode 2 with Zoe Strother
episode 3 with Ariella Aisha Azoulay
episode 4 with Simon Gikandi
episode 5 with Herbert Weiss
episode 6 with Richard Woordward

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Renzo Martens

Renzo Martens, born in the Netherlands in 1973, studied Political Sciences in Nijmegen and Visual Arts in Ghent and Amsterdam. In his conceptual documentary films "Episode I" (2003) and "Episode III: Enjoy Poverty" (2008) Martens used his position as an artist to highlight the exploitation of underpriviledged people by media industries and cultural producers, including Martens himself. In 2010 Martens founded the Institute for Human Activities (IHA). It aims to create gentrification effects in the Congolese rain forest through the establishment of an international art centre there. IHA collaborates with local plantation workers and seeks to acknowledge the economic mechanisms through which art has the greatest impact on social reality, investigating possibilities of local improvement. Since 2013 Renzo Martens is a Yale World Fellow. He participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the 19th Biennale of Sydney in 2014, the Moscow Biennale 2013, and the 6th and 7th Berlin Biennial in 2010 and 2012. He lives and works in Amsterdam, Brussels and Kinshasa.

Martens´s work has been presented in major solo exhibitions such as in the Van Abbemuseum 2023, Balot (KOW Berlin 2022). And most recently, Martens and CATPC are invited for the Dutch Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennial in 2024.

Full Biography