A Congo Chronicle: Patrice Lumumba in Urban Art provides a unique encounter with the Independence movement that took hold in urban cafés of the Congo.
This study is developed around a series of about fifty urban art or popular paintings, a genre traceable to the 1920s, by the influential artist Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu. It chronicles contemporary social and political realities in its depiction of the dramatic political career of Patrice Lumumba, the father of Congo independence who became the nation’s first Prime Minister in 1960, but was soon after killed under mysterious circumstances.
This book helps us understand not only how Congolese view the turbulent years of their independence, but also how it relates to their beliefs. The paintings show how art contributes to the creation of a national history and national heroes, and shapes the national consciousness in a newly independent, multi-cultural society. Essays discuss popular urban art, the life of Patrice Lumumba, Tshibumba’s series of Lumumba paintings, the Congolese memory of Lumumba, and Congolese cultural heroes.