2020, video, colour, sound, 1min 6s
Breathing in Kiluba, the language of the Luba people in the Democratic Republic of Congo
My proposal is inspired by a chant that was sung during the Katanga Secession in the aftermath of Congo’s so-called independence. The chant was a rallying cry for the indivisibility of ancestral lands in the face of Katanga separatism and exploitive colonial interference. Sung by my father when he was a child, it meant you were willing to die in the name of Congolese territorial sovereignty, and hence, my reappropriation of the tune connects collective struggles with my own. Kutefuka articulates my right to exist, the right to be one with the very land I inhabit, which for me, is not negotiable.
This work reflects on the impact of colonialism on a people over hundreds of years, and its ongoing consequences. Kutefuka is also a manifesto against who and what I refuse to be: a person obliged to bargain for his own right to be in the world.
My artistic practice functions between reality and fiction as a means through which to critically examine history, memory, and the nature of localized identity: places I live in, have lived in, and the spaces I occupy therein. I deliberately blur reality and fiction in order to undermine hegemonic narratives and create spaces where marginal discourse can come alive. By mining themes both contemporary and historical, I engage in a geometry that rearranges, reassembles, and outlines the shape of cultural, political, social, and economic realities. In so doing, I seek to reinvent a universe that severs the bondage between land and identity, the very links that have historically allowed colonists to confine indigenous people and curtail their capacity for reinvention. I create my own tools for inculcating territories other than my own, thereby enriching areas of research that inspire my practice.
—Moridja Kitenge Banza