Moridja Kitenge-Banza / Montréal

Photo : Paul Litherland


Moridja Kitenge Banza is a Canadian artist of Congolese descent, born in 1980 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He graduated from the Académie des beaux-arts de Kinshasa, the École supérieure de Nantes Métropole, and the University of La Rochelle in the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2010, he received 1st prize at Dak’Art – Biennale de l’art africain contemporain. His work has been on exhibit at the Musée Dauphinois (Grenoble, France), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Rosklide, Denmark), the Arnt Gallery (Berlin, Germany), the Biennale internationale de Casablanca (Morocco), as well as at the BAnQ, the Joyce Yahouda Gallery, the OBORO artist centre and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Québec, Canada).

Photos : Jean-Michael Seminaro

L'Union des états

Both installation and performance, the Union des États represents a reflection on the existence of the many political and economic institutions, a questioning on their reality, their usefulness and their functioning. By reclaiming the codes and rituals of these organizations, namely the United Nations, European Union, African Union and Union of South American Nations, etc., I assert the right to create a union replacing them all since they have failed at their missions. Therefore, I suggest a critical reading of my own colonial experience while inverting its logic.

For this installation, I will give, or not, performances in different locations that I transform into diplomatic representations of the Union des États. During these performances, I give a political speech, either long or short, or even incomprehensible; this slightly sarcastic use of time allows me to take over the territory on which I am standing. A territory that I chose to reconfigure according to the new provisions adopted during a general assembly of the Union des États—a throwback to the Berlin Conference (1884-1885) where Euro- pean powers decided the faith of an entire continent, Africa.

My artistic approach lies somewhere between reality and fiction. Through this lens, I question the history, memory and identity of the place where I live or have lived in relation to the space I occupy and have occupied in each of them. I intentionally confuse fact and fiction to disrupt hegemonic narratives and create spaces where marginalized discourse can flourish. Drawing from the collective imaginary, I organize, assemble, and trace figures, as would a land surveyor, by reappropriating the codes of cultural, political, social and economic representations. In doing so, I build my own tools to better invest the territory of the other in order to enrich all the fields of research that inspire my practice.

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