PhD research: Crafting modernity in drawing and painting: local artistic production and colonial patronage in Southern Congo from the 1920s-1950s

October 2022 to September 2026
modern art
watercolor painting
contact zone
indigenous modernities
Université de Kisangani (DRCongo)
Research fields
Arts and Architecture
History and Archaeology

The object is centered around water and oil paintings by artists identified by name in the collection of the RMCA and the KBR in relation to their social and cultural contexts. By means of a combination of collection, archival and field research, biographical data of the artists concerned and information about their training and patrons will be retrieved. The social lives of the paintings and objects they produced is traced and situated in the colonial context as a contact zone, combining European influences and patronage with regional artistic traditions.

Artistic practices will be studied against the background of a longer history of art practices by comparing the paintings with (1) tradition-based objects such as decorative plaited mats and objects engraved with figurative and geometric scenes, photographs of precolonial rock paintings and of interior decorations in initiation houses during the colonial era and (2) postcolonial urban paintings.