Defiant Sculpture: Isek Bodys Kingelez and Mobutu Sese-Seko’s Authenticité, 1990s

Now taking place online on 10 March - time still to be confirmed.

‘In this lecture I discuss Mobutu Sese-Seko who, as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (1965-1996), exemplified the theatrical Big Man ruler in postcolonial Africa. By deploying anti-Communist rhetoric, he secured Western Bloc support of his spectacularly kleptocratic regime and, through his antiWestern Authenticité program, created a national culture in his own image. Against Mobutu’s repressive political practice and ideology, I read the architectural sculptures of Isek Bodys Kingelez (1948-2015). I argue that their extravagant hypermodernity, as with segments of popular arts, constitute a distinctive form of imaginative resistance to official culture under Mobutu.’