Current exhibition

Exhibition in ASCL Library: Young people after demobilization in Bangui

Photos BanguiYoung people after demobilization in Bangui, the Central African Republic

This is not the type of exposition one would expect when one thinks of child soldiers. Normally traumatized children in military fatigue are portrayed while they hold their guns.

For a research and documentary project we interviewed young people in Bangui who recently disengaged from armed groups in the Central African Republic about their experiences with what is often framed as ‘reintegration’. Some of them were helped by UNICEF and partner organizations, others sought to find their own ways.

Studying the aftermath of their involvement as children in armed groups we encountered the many problems that these young people still face. But we also came across their strength and dignity. This was portrayed in the new professions some learned in reintegration projects and perform with pride in front of the camera, or in their roles as caring young mothers and fathers. The young people were visited at their homes and this gave interesting information about how they are embedded in their family structures. The exposition also draws attention to their family-settings, and to the process of documentary-making.

The exposition is the result of a documentary project by Sjoerd Sijsma together with Wilfried Poukoule, Marie Louise Tchissikombre, Crépin Marius Mouguia, Jean Bruno Ngouflo and Jonna Both.

This exposition presents one of the outcomes of a research project  the ASCL carries out for UNICEF Netherlands and UNICEF CAR with money from the Nationale Postcode Loterij (NPL). 
It can be seen during office hours in the ASCL library on the ground floor of the Pieter de la Court building.

Date, time and location

01 March 2018 to 01 June 2018

Exposition par Sapin: MBOKA’SIKA. La vision d'art

Painting by Sapin

Lire le texte en français

MBOKA'SIKA is the first solo exhibition in The Netherlands by the Congolese painter SAPIN MAKENGELE, alias SAPINART. The opening took place on 9 April. Read Catherina Wilson's speech 'Art is knowledge'.

Born in Kinshasa in the 1980s, Sapin is a self-taught artist. As a young boy, he used to draw everywhere: in sand, on walls, on paper, on doors and gates; with chalk, pencil, pen, or simply with the handle of the type of palm broom that you will find in every Kinois household.

In 1995, unable to attend art school, Sapin began to paint and draw advertisements on the walls of different small businesses in his neighbourhood: pharmacies, shops, bars, etc.

In 2000, he graduated as an apprentice electrician from secondary school. One year down the road, he dropped electricity and decided to dedicate himself fully to his art. He joined the atelier of one of the masters of Congolese popular painting, Cheri Cherin, where Sapin learned the technique of oil on canvas.

Encouraged by Cheri Cherin, Sapin embarked on an artistic career, following in the footsteps of  world-renowned Congolese painters such as Moke, Cherin Samba, Pierre Bodo, Shula and others.

In 2004, Sapin participated in his very first (collective) exhibition organized by the Centre Wallonie Bruxelles of Kinshasa. This exhibition established Sapin in the Congolese art scene.

Sapin enjoys painting in public. He used to put his easel in front of his shack. He would often be surrounded by neighbours, passers-by, friends and family, and especially, his first son Varsovie Makengele (now 15 years old). In this inspiring environment, Sapin’s themes and style became more solid, opening the doors to the renowned DAK’ART Biennale for Contemporary Art in Senegal. Sapin was selected, along with five other Congolese artists, to represent his country at its seventh edition in 2006. Subsequently, Sapin took part in various exhibitions and his art started travelling around the world: Congo-Brazzaville, France, Belgium, Canada, Austria, Germany, USA, The Netherlands and Chad.

An inquisitive and curious mind, the artist met and started working with different historians and anthropologists. In 2010, he participated, as a painter, in the shooting of ‘Les enfants de Lovanium’ at the University of Kinshasa, a collaboration with the historian Pedro Monaville and the filmmaker Cecil Michel. Sapin is one of the lead characters in this documentary that deals with the student protests of the late sixties.

Inspired by this experience, painting performances and co-creation have become Sapin’s trademark. In 2014, he worked together with Catherina Wilson on an episode of the history of Libenge; he held a week-long painting performance designed to capture the life story of one of the inhabitants of this forgotten town in the North Congo. Two years later, he co-created the detailed historical drawing ‘CONGO 1960-1965’ with two history students at Leiden University.

In 2015, Sapin left his hometown on a brief world tour, after which he decided to settle in The Netherlands, his adopted country. Will this new environment provide him with new sources of inspiration and new artistic visions? Will he be able to combine these with the images of his beloved Kinshasa? These are the questions at the heart of MBOKA’SIKA, une vision d’art.

Lire l'article 'Couleurs populaires', paru le 25 mars dans Jeune Afrique, sur la peinture congolaise dans lequel Sapin est mentionné comme élève de Chéri Chérin

The exhibition can be seen during office hours in the corridors on the third floor of the Pieter de la Court building. The paintings are for sale; prices range between € 30 and € 1.850.

Date, time and location

09 April 2018 to 01 July 2018