LEVEL 3, GALLERY 28
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, BORN 1995
LIVES AND WORKS IN ADELAIDE
Pierre Mukeba’s Impartiality 2018 is a large-scale textile painting depicting a group of four women looking intently back at the viewer. The figures are drawn with brush pen on unprimed cotton cloth and printed fabrics, in vibrant patterns, are applied to sections of the work. Mukeba uses patterned Dutch wax print fabrics commonly perceived as being ‘African’, while in reality, they were appropriated from traditional Javanese batik by Dutch colonisers in the 19th century, mass produced in Europe and exported to Africa. This painting is part of a group of recent works by Mukeba, in which he draws on socio-cultural standards of beauty and representations of his community. Mukeba also seeks to open audiences’ eyes to the plight of refugees as a result of a civil war in Africa and current narratives relevant to the African- Australian experience.
Pierre Mukeba was a child when he fled with his family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Zambia, where they lived in a refugee camp before joining family in Zimbabwe. Following the Mugabe regime’s arrest order for non-nationals, the family applied for asylum through the Australian Embassy and relocated to Adelaide in 2006. Largely self-taught, Mukeba has had no formal art education. He has been exhibiting his work since 2017, including solo presentations at GAGPROJECTS, Hamilton Gallery, Sydney Art Fair and Melbourne Art Fair. Mukeba was recently included in the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art and in 2019 was awarded the Ramsay Art Prize, Lipman Karas People’s Choice Award, through the Art Gallery of South Australia.
The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Major Supporter Anne Ross for her support.