Geraldine Tobe in residence

8 April - 22 June 2019


Géraldine Tobe is a visual artist whose work is displayed in our new permanent exhibition in the ‘Resource Paradox’ gallery. She was an artist-in-residence at the AfricaMuseum.
Born in Kinshasa in 1992, Géraldine studied at the Institut des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa, and works in the city she still calls home.

As a visual artist, she expresses her hopes and dreams for the people of DR Congo in her original artworks. Instead of using paintbrushes and colours, she has made black smoke the heart of her creative output. At one point in her artistic path, she felt that paintings hindered her expression. In burning them, it was as though she recovered their soul. And by using collage, she reassembles fragments of history, such as masks, to give them a life outside of the museum’s collections. 

It’s important to me because it gives me a chance to learn about and promote our history and our traditions. We have distanced ourselves so much from tradition since the advent of Christianity that Congolese no longer know the true history of their land. For many of them, our works of art are nothing but sorcery. As an artist, this does bother me, and I think I have some responsibility to attempt to get Congolese to see artwork in a better light.
That said, I do this in part for Congolese and in part for Belgians. The issue of restitution is currently a matter of heated debate in our countries. The conservation of these collections in the museum in Tervuren allows me today, through this residency, to commemorate the spirits of our ancestors and keep them alive. There is still a relationship between Belgium and Congo, so this historical and artistic residency is dedicated to Congolese and Belgians alike. 

From 17 October to 14 November 2019, several pieces by artist Geraldine Tobé will be on display in ‘Pilar’, an exhibition organized for the 50th anniversary of the VUB.