The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) approves temporary loan request by artist collective CATPC
Image: Chief’s or Diviner’s Figure Representing the Belgian Colonial Officer, Maximilien Balot, circa 1931, Unknown artist (Pende, Democratic Republic of the Congo), wood (possibly Alstonia Boonei) with metal repair staples. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Aldine S. Hartman Endowment Fund, 2015.3. Photo by Travis Fullerton © 2015 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Ancestral sculpture Balot temporarily returned to place of origin
Historic step forwards for artist collective Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) and Lusanga (DRC), as Virginia Museum of Fine Arts confirms the loan of the sculpture ‘Balot’, a carved wood ancestral power-figure made in 1931. CATPC requested the temporary loan of Balot in anticipation of the exhibition in the 2024 Dutch National participation at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in collaboration with Dutch artist Renzo Martens and curator Hicham Khalidi. The sculpture is expected to be on display in Lusanga to the public from April 20 to November 24, 2024, parallel to the Biennale di Venezia.
CATPC and Renzo Martens Dutch Entry for the Venice Biennale 2024
Image, from left to right: Ced’art Tamasala (CATPC), Matthieu Kasiama (CATPC), Renzo Martens, Hicham Khalidi, Mbuku Kimpala (CATPC). Photo: Koos Breukel, 2023
Renzo Martens, Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) and curator Hicham Khalidi will be providing the Dutch entry for the Venice Biennale 2024. The joint plan will be open to the public from 20 April 2024 at the Rietveld Pavilion in Venice and simultaneously at the White Cube in Lusanga, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This Dutch entry will therefore consist of two presentations that are directly mirrored and connected.
For the first time in the history of the Venice Biennale and of the Rietveld Pavilion, a community that lives and works on one of the plantations that funded and continues to fund the art world, will represent itself.
“Our contribution to collective memory, by way of an exhibition in the Dutch pavilion exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity to restitute to humanity the fruits of our research in the history of white cubes, which are intimately and often shamefully linked to the plantations, something of which nobody speaks.
Meaningful and sincere reflections will be produced from these realities – plantations and art institutions – coming together. Questions of care, repair, healing, and restitution become unavoidable, as no white cube can claim to decolonize as long as the communities on the plantations are not also able to decolonize themselves.”
– Ced’art Tamasala, on behalf of CATPC
View the announcement on Mondriaan Fund’s website here. More information will follow soon.
Into the Great Wide Open
31 August – 3 September 2023
Several works by CATPC and Renzo Martens will be on view as part of Into the Great Wide Open’s festival art program.
The installation Why Plantations Matter will be spread out over the forest of Vlieland and in the Tromp’s Huys museum. In the forest, you will find Athanas Kindendie / CATPC’s Plantation Monoculture – a sculpture which criticizes the monoculture of palm plantations that took a century-long grip on the land and completely depleted it – and the Balot NFT. In the museum, the series Plantations and Museums will be on view.
There will also be an artist talk with Renzo Martens on the 1st of September, from 10.30 onwards, and two screenings of White Cube on the 2nd of September, 16:00-17:20, and the 3rd, 12:00-13:20.
Find out more on Into the Great Wide Open’s website.
This program came about in collaboration with CATPC and Human Activities, as part of the White Cube program in the Netherlands. The program aims to decolonize not only the art world, but also the plantations that funded the art world. The program is supported by the Mondriaan Fund.
Current Vacancies at Human Activities
1 September 2023
We are looking for:
Intern Projects and Exhibitions (filled)
NRC Op-ed by Renzo Martens
7 June 2023
Image: Screenshot of Renzo Martens’ publication on NRC, including “
On 7 June 2023, Renzo Martens’ article about the connection between plantation workers and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam was published. In the publication, Martens begins by presenting the work of Dutch artist Jan Dibbets who, in 1969, dug out the four corners of the Stedelijk Museum to expose its foundations and question the existence of the museum. Fifty years later, while still speculating on the unrestrained continuation of plantation labor, the Stedelijk has not yet given credit to the plantation workers who contributed to the construction of the museum. Martens writes:
“The truth is that plantation workers are the co-authors of every single wall, every beam of light and every line of perspective.”
CATPC Walk & Talk at the Oude Kerk
19 March 2023
Image: Ced’art Tamasala and Matthieu Kasiama (CATPC) installing Ibrahim Mahama’s “Judgment of the White Cube” solo show at the White Cube in Lusanga, photo: Dareck Tuba, 2022
Join the Congolese Plantation Workers Art League CATPC as they reflect upon last year’s Ibrahim Mahama show Judgment of the White Cube at their museum in the middle of a plantation, the White Cube Lusanga, from the site of Mahama’s latest exhibition Garden of Scars at the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam.
Walking through Garden of Scars, CATPC members Matthieu Kasiama, Mbuku Kimpala and Ced’art Tamasala will discuss their long-standing collaboration with Mahama in connection to their own artistic practice. They will also announce the White Cube’s upcoming program, which aims to decolonize not only the art world but also the plantations that have historically funded the art world. The public is invited to participate in thinking about how museums can contribute to decolonization and how art can be regenerative.
This event is the first of the White Cube’s program in the Netherlands. Opening up the dialogue on decolonization between CATPC and Dutch institutions, many of which were funded with profits extracted from plantations, the program focuses on creating equal knowledge exchanges and decolonizing the place where it is needed most: the plantation.
Get tickets here. More information on the upcoming White Cube program will be released soon.