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Moridja Kitenge Banza

Authentic No. 1

Artist

Moridja Kitenge Banza
Born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1980

Title

Authentic No. 1

Date

2017

Materials

Ink-jet print, 1/5

Dimensions

91.5 x 66.3 cm

Credits

Purchase, William Gilman Cheney Bequest, inv. 2018.20

Collection

Graphic Arts

In his “Authentic” series, Kitenge Banza reflects on the way society views him. It is an ironic wink at both Mobutu Sese Seko’s “recourse to authenticity” slogan of the 1970s and “African” photography. Posing in his Montreal backyard, the artist plays with Western clichés such as the Dutch-wax print, fabric that was imported by Europeans but often thought to be of African origin. The painting of Christ Pantocrator questions his relationship to the African objects in Western museums, as well as his own multiple identity. The Jesuits converted his ancestors to Christianity, but part of his family still plays the role of guardian of traditional customs. By making the Christ wear a mask from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ collection, he “gives the mask back its honour, as well as its function, which is to be worn.”

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