How Artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga Connects the Past and the Present, Amy Crawford, δημοσίευση στο Smithsonian MagazineMarilena Pateraki
Ever since artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga learned about the coltan industry in his native Democratic Republic of Congo, he has been obsessed by the contrast between the rare metallic ore’s role as a vital component in the infrastructure of our digital age and the legions of underpaid workers who dig it out of the earth by hand. Collected in a new monograph out this month, Kamuanga Ilunga’s paintings of figures traced with circuitry allude to European portraiture, dystopian science fiction and Congolese sculpture and textiles. But, as the 31-year-old artist says, it was the inner workings of his broken iPhone that inspired him to “tattoo the badges of contemporary technology into the skin of those who procure these materials for others’ profit.” Kamuanga Ilunga’s work explores parallels between Congo’s past—the slave trade and exploitation as a Belgian colony—and the harsh conditions of coltan mining today. Still, he persists in “the hope that we can revive traditional values from which we’ve become estranged,” he says. “If so, there’s a real possibility of a different future.”
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