‘Carnet de route’ (4’08”)
Artwork from the VIERNULVIER Collection
Artist: Deogracias Kihalu | (CD) | 2021
In 1927, Edward Anseele Jr. made a colonial expedition to the border region of Burundi and Congo. Like his father, Edward Anseele Sr., co-founder of the Vooruit cooperative, Anseele Jr. was active within the socialist movement at the time. He was tasked with identifying the land most suitable for expanding Vooruit’s network of ‘red’ factories. Anseele Jr. was seeking locations for a cotton plantation, a mining site, a brewery and a tobacco factory, among other operations. The trip would only be made public after the fact, raising many questions from the Belgian Workers’ Party. But there were no consequences beyond a commission of enquiry and some tiresome debates. When the Bank van de Arbeid went under in 1933, documents relating the trip disappeared under dust for a long time.
Artist Deogracias Kihalu drew inspiration from these forgotten events for ‘Carnet de route’. He viewed the documents, processed the information and let his own history be his guide. ‘Carnet de route’ consists of a poem (translated into Dutch by Andy Van Kerschaver) and a ceramic sculpture. In doing so, Kihalu casts a twenty-first-century eye over this colonial piece of the Vooruit cooperative’s history.
Deogracias Kihalu is a Congolese painter, performer and video artist. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa in 2008 and has been part of the Sadi artist collective there since 2010. Kihalu currently lives and works in Ghent, where, alongside his other activities, he is involved in the open house KAPOW, a melting pot of art, music and street culture.
Like Teletext’s work in the VIERNULVIER Café’s Winter Garden, ‘Carnet de route’ is part of ‘Kunst Veredelt’, an audio-guided walk through the history of De Vooruit. Creators Adriënne van der Werf, Katinka de Jonge, Leonore Spee and Sascha Bornkamp theatricalise the facts, complementing them with contemporary perspectives and creating new stories. As a listener, you travel from room to room and witness conversations between historical socialists and contemporary thinkers, progressive artists and feminist historians, activists and Café regulars.
Only occasionally is this audio tour available to experience in its entirety. Keep an eye on the VIERNULVIER website for updates. Want to hear more right now? You can listen to the audio from ‘Kunst Veredelt’ in full via our website.