On April 21–22, a quintessential White Cube will be inaugurated on a former Unilever plantation in Lusanga, 650 km southeast of Kinshasa, D.R. Congo.
Designed by OMA, this White Cube is a central element of the Lusanga International Research Centre for Art and Economic Inequality (LIRCAEI).
For decades, plantations have been violently exploited for the benefit of remote shareholders. The immense wealth generated was partially invested in art institutions devoted to critique, love and aesthetics.
With the establishment of LIRCAEI, the mechanisms through which plantations underwrite the art world will be reversed. In Lusanga, the White Cube will attract both the capital and the visibility needed to to transform exploitative plantations into inclusive and ecological post-plantations.
The inauguration of the White Cube will mark the launch of the five year-research program of LIRCAEI.
On Friday April 21th, a solemn ceremony celebrating the repatriation of the White Cube and the opening of the inaugural exhibition of the museum will be held.
The opening reception will be followed by the screening of The Globalisation Tapes, a documentary shot by Indonesian plantation workers in collaboration with Academy Award nominated director Joshua Oppenheimer.
On Saturday April 22th, public discussions on the ties binding financial markets, art institutions and the plantation system are organized. Participants include academics, curators and policy makers such as Suhail Malik (Co-Director of the MFA in Fine Art of Goldsmiths University, London) Azu Nwagbogu (founder and director of Lagos Photo Festival and of the African Artists' Foundation) and René Ngongo (CATPC president, founding director of Greenpeace Congo, and 2009 recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, generally considered as the alternative Nobel Prize).
In the afternoon, participants will be invited to assist CATPC in the planting of fruit trees in CATPC’s experimental garden. The opening week-end will culminate in a concert by a prominent Congolese band, followed by a popular festival.
The program will be held in Lingala and French, with assistance for English speakers. Admission is free. A fee will be charged for lodging and meals. Visitors are advised to contact the travel coordinator here.
To mark the opening of the new research program centered on the definition and implementation of the post-plantation, CATPC is curating an exhibition on the interconnectedness of art, ecology, and the economy.
The exhibition will serve to activate the White Cube and put it in the service of Lusanga's people.
Participating artists include: Kader Attia, Sammy Baloji, Marlene Dumas, Michel Ekeba, Eleonore Hellio, Carsten Höller, Irene Kanga, Mathieu Kasiama, Jean Katambayi, Jean Kawata, Mbuku Kimpala, Thomas Leba, Jeremie Mabiala, Daniel Manenga, Mega Mingiedi, Emery Mohamba, Cedrick Tamasala and Luc Tuymans.