Butler Gallery Kitchen Corridor
18 February – 28 February, 2015
The Butler Gallery was delighted to host an exhibition entitled Karibu by the Irish based collective of Congolese artists of the same name. Karibu in Swahili, one of the Congolese spoken languages, means “Welcome”.
In 1997, Mzee Laurent Desire Kabila took over the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Congo from the former president Mobutu. Since then, the population of DRC, particularly the people in Eastern DRC – a region rich in minerals – have been living through a horrifying cycle of violence. Systematic and widespread crimes against humanity continue to haunt the region, especially in the Kivu provinces where according to the International Rescue Committee, at least 5.4 million people have died of war-related causes.
This collective of Congolese artists, who all live in Ireland, and are of different artistic and cultural backgrounds, joined together to raise awareness about this on-going war in their home country. Karibu works in partnerships with different international and local charities in Ireland by organizing exhibitions and workshops and supporting youth in their creative process by sharing knowledge and experiences. These partnerships are funded with a percentage from any revenue the collective generates.
This exhibition allows us to appreciate the diversity of expression from this interesting collective who are Nhono Tambidila, Bennoit Numbi, Greg Kalala and Masekabay Zanga.
Each artist has gone on their own creative journey in conveying their personal bond with their home country. The works range from brightly coloured figurative paintings to abstract works of rich complexity.
While we celebrate the collective’s creativity, this occasion is also an opportunity to encourage the public to reflect upon the continuing suffering of the people of the Congo. At the opening gathering we were pleased to welcome Serge Greatman, a Congolese musician based in Laois, who shared an African Beat inspired by the Rumba Congolese. We were also especially honoured to welcome Salome Mbugua and Donat Mabana who spoke at the opening.
Salome Mbugua is a native of Kenya and has lived in Ireland since 1994. She has over 20 years’ experience of working with disadvantaged and under represented groups especially women, children, and youth in Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ireland. Salome is the founder and former CEO of AkiDwA and was appointed Honorary President of the organisation in 2014. Salome has a proven track record in leadership and is a strong believer and advocate of gender equality, human rights and diversity inclusion. She holds a master’s degree in equality studies from University College Dublin.
Donat Mabana is from Democratic Republic of Congo and has lived in Limerick for the past 15 years. He is Coordinator at “SOS Congolese Youth” with the mission to ignite the emergence of a new generation of Young Congolese leaders to impact change in Ireland, the DRC and worldwide. He is also a member of many organisations including: Amnesty International, Campaign for Democracy in the Congo (CDC), SOFAD Ireland, the National Campaign against Racism in Ireland. Donat appears on radio talk shows, conferences and is a consultant in Ireland and Europe on issues relating to leadership, equality, and diversity, anti racism, integration, youth, and violence against women.
Kilkenny-born photographer Richard Mosse shone a light on the long standing war in the Congo through his series of photographs and multi-media installation ‘The Enclave’ shot in discontinued military surveillance film that registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, turning everything green into pink. Mosse represented Ireland in the 2013 Venice Biennale, an exhibition that was curated by Butler Gallery Director Anna O’Sullivan. His exhibition, which has travelled internationally for the past two years, has received enormous critical acclaim. Two of his photographs General Février, 2010 and Growing up in Public, 2011, were part of Butler Gallery’s exhibition ‘Portraits from The David Kronn Collection’.
Karibu, 31 Conway Court, Macken Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
e: firstname.lastname@example.org f: Karibu Congo