CATPC member Blaise Mandefu Ayawo passed away

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of CATPC member Blaise Mandefu Ayawo. Blaise was 55 years old. He leaves a wife and five young children.

After installing the exhibition in the Dutch Pavilion, Blaise fell ill during the opening week of the 60th La Biennale di Venezia. After a hospitalization of almost two weeks, Blaise passed away. We are grateful to the staff at Ospedale dell’Angelo for their dedicated care.

Blaise was one of the elders of CATPC. He was a great artist and contributed tremendously to CATPC’s goal to recover the land that was confiscated by Unilever and to reforest it with the means of art. He made the central sculpture that stands both in Lusanga and at the Dutch pavilion in Venice: Mvuyu Libérateur - a bird that cracks wide open white cubes and allows the energy they have historically captured to flow back to the communities that funded museums. In the CATPC performance The Judgement of the White Cube, Blaise performs the lawyer of the White Cube: “The white cube brings people together, the white cube cares.”

The memorable exhibition of CATPC at the Venice Biennale marked the first time that a large delegation of CATPC members travelled from their home base in Lusanga, DR Congo. Blaise will be buried in his hometown.

In his last interview for Congolese radio, Blaise said that Mvuyu Libérateur would open the way. Together with CATPC, we will continue to work for his vision to come true.


Blaise Mandefu Ayawo

9/9/1968 – 29/4/2024

Blaise in Venice, photo: Jurgen Lisse, 2024.

Blaise at the opening of The International Celebration of Blasphemy and the Sacred, Dutch entry La Biennale di Venezia. From left to right: René Ngongo, Alphonse Bukumba, Mbuku Kimpala, Ced’art Tamasala, Blaise Mandefu, Eelco van der Lingen, Barbara Wolfsensberger. Photo: Peter Tijhuis, 2024.

Mvuyu Libérateur, Blaise Mandefu Ayawo / CATPC, The International Celebration of Blasphemy and the Sacred, Dutch entry of La Biennale di Venezia, photo: Peter Tijhuis, 2024.

Blaise working on sculpture in atelier in Lusanga, photo: Jurgen Lisse, 2024.