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Congo: Urban Landscapes, Intersecting Gazes

Research Unit: Theory and History
Academic year: 2007/2008
Staff: Johan Lagae Marc Gemoets

This exhibition presented the urban landscapes of three cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kisangani) and invited visitors to reflect on the notion of ‘shared heritage’. What kind of bond do the Congolese have with the built colonial legacy, which still forms a large part of the urban hardware? How do they experience this heritage and the urban fabric that still bears witness to an era of colonial dominance and racial segregation? Following symbols of colonial power, what constitutes the new urban artefacts that give meaning to a society struggling with explosive urban growth and new challenges? Via a rich array of documents, models and images, the exhibition presented a narrative of the history of colonial architecture and urban planning in these cities, while artworks from contemporary Congolese artists provided a profound present-day gaze on these urban landscapes.
The exhibition was on show in Kinshasa in 2010.