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Moridja Kitenge Banza

Christ Pantocrator No. 5


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


Christ Pantocrator No. 5




Acrylic and gold leaf on plywood


40.5 x 30.5 cm


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 2019.115


Quebec and Canadian Art

Referencing Byzantine Christian Orthodox iconography, this Christ is part of a series that relates to the personal history of the Canadian artist Moridja Kitenge Banza. Having been raised in a Catholic family in Kinshasa, he was not exposed to ceremonial masks in his childhood. Considered demonic and savage by the missionaries who colonized his country, masks are still perceived as symbols of animism and, therefore, as sacrilegious. Here, Kitenge Banza aspires to reclaim the traditional aspect of his Congolese identity, drawing inspiration from a work in the Museum’s collection. Covering a holy image (symbolizing modern-day religion) with a depiction of ancient beliefs, which colonial powers had attempted to suppress or at least control, the artist makes a powerful gesture of reappropriation.

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