fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Antoinette Lubaki
La Biennale di Venezia

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Antoinette Lubaki

1895, Democratic Republic of the Congo – n.d.

  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Antoinette Lubaki was born in the village of Bukama at a time when the bloody dictatorship of Leopold II of Belgium was ravaging the Congo Free State and enslaving millions of inhabitants. Although her colourful drawings bear no specific trace of those atrocities, Lubaki’s story was deeply shaped by the exotic allure that Europeans saw in her art and by the ethnographic gaze levelled on all artists from the colonies. In 1926, Belgian administrator and art collector Georges Thiry came across the murals that Lubaki and her husband Albert had painted on huts in Bukama; sensing the interest that they might spark in Belgium, he supplied the materials needed to reproduce them on paper. In the years that followed, Lubaki made drawing after drawing of scenes inspired by Congolese stories, proverbs, and dreams. The vivid silhouettes that inhabit them are arranged in frames that delimit the narrative space and are filled in with a few quick strokes of natural pigment (primarily clay, charcoal, and kaolin). When detractors claimed her drawings were the work of a European impostor, Lubaki’s fame rapidly faded. But even today, these works show a sensibility unparalleled in the world of modern art. 

Stefano Mudu



Antoinette Lubaki, Untitled (three characters under a tree), c. 1929. Watercolour on paper, 52 × 66 cm. Photo Fabrice Jousset. Private Collection, Paris.
Courtesy MAGNIN-A Gallery, Paris; Cornette de Saint Cyr, Paris. © Antoinette Lubaki

Central Pavilion
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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte