Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo Congolese, b. 1981

A prominent figure among the young painters from the DRC, Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo was born in Kinshasa in 1981. He studied Visual Arts at the Academy of Kinshasa, receiving a diploma from the Institute of the Art Schools as well as from the Art Academy in 2000 and 2003. He continued his studies at the School of Decorative Art in Strasbourg and has since taught at the Academy of Kinshasa and at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.

He was a member of the collective of young Congolese artists. They tried to explore with passion and engagement free and innovating creations. The collective was constituted as a framework to exchange the different experiences in their lives, spirits and expressions, but also to fight for human rights and their freedom. All the attempts are articulated around a concept which is called “the librisme”. This is a movement of young revolutionary thinking artists in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries in the African continent by being opposed to colonial and old school academic art.

His current work investigates questions about this new society, the cultural encounter of humans as well as the dialogues between peoples from different parts of the world.

The images created in this body of work are compilations of various body parts from different images cut from popular international fashion magazines. These compositions are also inspired by the various countries he has travelled and worked in around the globe.

Vistshois Mwilambwe declares that his art provides the creative space for experimentation, a territory in which he tries to co-habit painting, installation, performance and the act of joining recycled images from fashion magazines and photographs. He uses all the means of expression available to him as a vehicle, a lens through which he highlights the political, social and economic situation in the world staging interventions through his work by recreating.

His technique of using cuttings to compose figures, bodies, portraits and heads starting from fragments of faces and body parts cut out from reviews in fashion magazines. The multitude of unknown bodies is a way for him to recreate the human body in a new society. This questions the variety of races. According to the artist, the body is mutilated and chaotic, confronting us with the frenzied situation reflected in current political and socio-economic trends in Africa and worldwide.

He affirms that art is neither limiting nor restrictive; instead it reflects the openness and dialectical denial of physical, geographical and mental boundaries. To him, globalization leads to continuous random exchanges. His work is an expression of resistance to homogenization, to the creation of a world of uniform people, but also a reaction to the confusion of aesthetic codes and cultural references. His approach is meant to present and examine the problems of Africa in particular and the world in general. He creates art to visualize things in a different way, through elements simultaneously hidden and revealed.

Bondo has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in South Africa, with Gallery MOMO, and further afield in Belgium, New York and across the African continent. In 2011 he was artist in residence at Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg, the French Cultural Centre in Pointe – Noire (DRC) and at the International Arts Centre in OMI, New York (USA). In the same year he was the Francis Greenburger Fellow for Managing and Mitigating Ethnic and Religious Conflict.