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On The Table Read, “the best arts magazine in the UK“, new photography series by Prisca Munkeni Monnier examines and criticizes the devastating effects of mining corporations in the Democratic Republic Of Congo.
La Vie Est Belle
In collaboration with the photography organization Fellowship, photographer Prisca Munkeni Monnier has released a new body of work titled La Vie Est Belle. Fellowship presented the new collection as an online exhibition, and beginning on December 15th 2022, all of the works were made available as NFTs.
Article 15, a hustler’s code developed by late Congolese musician Papa Wemba, serves as the inspiration for the series La Vie Est Belle. The code promotes an attitude of “work with what you have” toward art, but most importantly, it depicts the hope of recovering mineral wealth that mining corporations have stolen from the Democratic Republic Of Congo (and continue to steal from): while the locals are largely left to deal with trash, copper, aluminum, and other materials.
“It’s a denunciation of the violence towards the mine workers but also towards artists, since they are both ignored,” explained Prisca. “They are both children of the country but forsaken by their nation… they work (create) with very little or no help at all, so it’s kind of a revolution and political statement. And a message of hope as well. Because creating something beautiful with recycled cell phones or cans and other objects, is a way of getting our land back.”
Prisca Munkeni Monnier
Prisca’s global upbringing and childhood have a significant impact on her photography practice: Zairean, she was born in Brussels, spent her childhood in Kinshasa, became Congolese, and then established her practice and life between Marseille and Kinshasa. Her images explore her identity as an African creator and woman whose memories are intertwined with the politics and history of the continent thanks to the intricate web of her memories, family, and heritage.
As shown in her Suki series, Prisca’s explorations of identity take many forms, including childhood memories of comparing her hair and appearance to those of Western magazines. She delves deeply into the Westernized notion of beauty and appearance, which she believes is ingrained in African culture and identity.
“The country that saw me born is not mine, the state that saw me grow up has disappeared, the nation of my passport barely exist,” said Prisca. “Remaining my culture, in memory weakened by the jolts of history, and whose survival is based only on a handful of people, an oral tradition whose breath is dwindling. Without doubt this is the breeding ground of my art, this propensity to make dialogue frozen moments, prolong their existence to infinity, force them to speak in an environment saturated with elements, lights.”
After their successful debut at Paris Photo as the first organization to present NFT photography at the prestigious fair with a selection of works by Guy Bourdin, Dmitri Cherniak x Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Cristina de Middel, and Eman Ali, among others, Fellowship is thrilled to collaborate with Prisca, a pioneering photographer.
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