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Accepted Paper:

The 7th Lubumbashi Biennal as a reflexive and transformative artistic network facing the ruins of the mining industry and countering extractivist structures of the global art field  
lotte arndt (Technische Universität Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the Picha Biennals strategies to oppose extractivist economic and artistic global structures from Lubumbashi, RDC.

Paper long abstract:

For more than a decade the association Picha organizes an art biennale in the Eastern Congolese city Lubumbashi. It works with local and international artists and curators, and bridges manyfold structural challenges. With the focus on toxicity, this year’s biennale addressed as much the heavy burdens of the extractivist history of the ‘Copperbelt’ than the strong economic asymmetries that artists working in the Congo have to face. By choosing the National Museum of Lubumbashi as one of its venues, the biennale enters in exchange with the collections of this formerly colonial institution.

The paper discusses how this year's edition of the Biennale positions itself in and against historical and contemporary extractivism. It draws a connection between the history of the collection that is tied to the mining industry in many regards with the heavy prevalence of toxic compounds in the environment of the city of Lubumbashi. How does chemical history take part in making land and its inhabitants economically and culturally extractable and expose them in unequal manners to pollution? What structures does the Picha association develop to resist the constantly lurking extraversion, that suggests an orientation towards the global art world and its financial possibilities (however precarious they may be)? How do the participating artists address the double reading of the title ToxiCity?

Panel Arts16
Rebuilding museums and museologies in Africa
  Session 2 Friday 2 June, 2023, -