Thursday, September 21, 6-8pm, Urban Arts Space, 50 W. Town St., Ste. 130

This exhibition introduces the work of Lucie Kamuswekera, an 80-year-old woman living in the city of Goma in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. By embroidering images about her country’s past and present on burlap sacks, Kamuswekera has visualized a history of the region that reflects deeply on the historical roots of the violence that plagues it today.

As a child, Lucie Kamuswekera learned embroidery in a colonial missionary school. As a teenager and young woman, she experienced the latter days of Belgian colonialism and the turbulent period of Congolese independence. The upheavals in the Eastern Congo in the 1990s profoundly changed her life. The start of the first Congo war in 1996 marked the beginning of years of violence and armed conflict in the region where Lucie Kamuswekera grew up and lives. These events marked her life in a traumatic way. In 1997, Lucie’s husband was killed while on his way to his fields. Like many before and after her, Lucie was forced to flee and settled as a widow in the city of Goma. There, she started embroidery again, as a means of meeting her material needs and expressing herself in relation to her country’s troubled past.

Kamuswekera joins a long-standing tradition in African popular “urban” art that reflects on historical and present societal ills, but she is also exceptional as a woman in the male-dominated artistic world of Democratic Republic of Congo. Her careful, embroidered observations provide us with an insightful reading of the current conflict in eastern Congo, violence against women, international intervention, and the relation between violence and the exploitation of natural resources.

Hosted by Urban Arts Space, Mershon Center for International Security Studies, and OSU Department of African American and African Studies.


Thursday, September 21, 2023 - 6:00pm

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