#Tribe16 International Art Festival in Bermondsey

1-2 October 2016

I had my second experience with Ange Mukeza‘s work at the #Tribe16 International Art Festival in Bermondsey. The two-days event, organized by Chrom-Art, involved over 120 international and UK-based artists from the world of contemporary art, music, dance and performance. The ‘living exhibition’ was held in a beautiful Victorian warehouse spanning over three floors and five different areas. I loved that place and the contrast with the modern Shard close to it.

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Ange was working at the third floor, besides other ‘interactive’ artists. For this occasion, she decided to focus on children and give them the possibility to participate. She confessed how much she enjoy working with children mostly because “they are not scared of anything, even though you have to control them!”

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Differently from before, this time she had divided the canvas with asymmetric frames, to differentiate the composition and create different landscapes.

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Previous Ange’s artwork was also exposed at the festival. The first painting, located at the same floor, was produced during another Art Festival called ArtRooms 2016 at the Melia White House hotel. This was a collaboration just between Ange and an adult audience.


Other two paintings, located at the second floor, were also a product of interaction between the artist and adult audience. The first, entitled #Beyond the Image, was produced at the Espacio Gallery in Shoreditch. The second, was the material result of a great event at the Nomadic community gardens, which I have previously described in this blog.

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Those paintings (and more others) are part of a series called WonderWorld, which is a direct collaboration between Ange and the public. Ange’s objective is to involve the audience to leave a personal mark, a contribution to the canvas, in order to share the performance of creating art work.

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As she explained, she started this new interactive approach mostly because she felt bored to work alone in a studio and she was looking for a more dynamic experience. Her goal is to find a lively dialogue with the audience, without omitting her own contribution.


1st Birthday for Nomadic community Gardens in Shoreditch

1st May 2016

The Nomadic Community Gardens transforms marginal, disused and unhealthy spaces into urban gardens where people can grow their own product, share abilities and produce art. The community is based close to Brick Lane, in Shoreditch, in a space between two overground lines which was previously inhabited by drug users and alcoholics. The community work has completely regenerated the area, giving birth to plants, flowers and creativity.

I visited the place during the Nomadic Community Gardens 1st Birthday celebration, one year since they started making use of the space. They organized a joyful event, bringing the festival into the city by making use of every inch of the gardens in a creative, artistic and interactive way. They called visual and graffiti artists, musicians, face painters, jugglers and more to participate.

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It was here where I first got to see Ange Mukeza in action.  She is a brilliant Congolese visual artist, who loves to create (or re-create) art through the interaction with the audience. I spent the day chatting with Ange and observing the way she convinced people to contribute to her work-in-progress.


Ange asking me to leave my mark!

For that occasion, she had brought a painting which she had produced four years earlier and she wanted to re-work on. She was asking to everyone who was passing by to participate, to make a personal mark on the painting. The audience was very international, mainly formed by young people (“to cool for school” as Ange said), tourists, locals who knew about the Nomadic community, families and children. Sometimes Ange would leave people “painting” alone, but most of the time she would have long conversations while painting with them. Not everyone was stopping by but a great majority was curious to try out the experience.

Later, Ange explained to me that art is for her a therapeutic process. Choosing to make people painting on her piece was her way to show that her feelings were moving forwards, constantly changing. She did not have bad memories related to that particular painting, she just felt the necessity to transform through the collaboration of others.

Strangely that day I did not encounter other Congolese, a part from Ange sister, Desibell, who had a stall of her own and was selling her products from Hiliveloveurlifestyle. I soon realized that Ange is an outsider and interesting character to discover.