On display at Maysles Cinema throughout Congo in Harlem:
Kinshasa Streets: Photographs by Jean Depara
Digital Exhibition courtesy of CAAC - The Pigozzi Collection
Jean Depara came to photography almost by accident. To record his wedding in 1950 he bought himself a small Adox camera—after which he never ceased to seek out new subjects for his lens. Settling in Kinshasa in 1951, Depara at first combined his photography with various small jobs: repairing bicycles and cameras, dealing in scrap metal. In 1954 the celebrated Zairian singer Franco invited him to become his official photographer, launching Depara’s career as a chronicler of Kinshasa social life in the era when the Rumba and the Cha Cha defined the city’s rhythm. Night owls particularly fascinated him and with his flash Depara captured an Africa stripped of conventional social codes. Interracial couples, hipsters, and those who in imitation of James Dean chose to “Live fast, die young” became both his subjects and his clients. Depara died in 1997, leaving his archive of hundreds of negatives, and a veritable time-capsule of Kinshasa in the 1950s and 60s.
The Contemporary African Art Collection by Jean Pigozzi has generously shared a selection of Jean Depara's photographs, which will be projected in the lobby of Maysles Cinema.
Paradise is Our Heavenly State of War Without End
Photographic panorama by Wellington Chin, esq.
A multi-panel large scale panoramic portrait depicting an imagined state of being, from resignation to happiness, amid the persistent insecurity that dominates most aspects of life in conflict areas like the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photographed from a single camera point-of-view, the panorama is made up of individually lit portraits (or performances) by the inhabitants of a Congolese village that has been under the control of militia for most of its existence. In collaborating with the villagers in an active denial of the obvious, the photo invites your contemplation as to the unseen range of human life as lived, regardless, and in spite of the worlds of pain outside ours. The artist has been living in Congo and other embattled African countries for the past fourteen years.