Acclaimed Congolese Photographer Kiripi Katembo Siku Dead at 36

Photo: http://voila.cd.

Congolese photographer, painter, and film producer Kiripi Katembo Siku died of cerebral malaria on August 5. He was only 36 years old.

Katembo Siku was the founder of the Yango Biennale, which is based in Kinsasha, Congo, as well as the photo and video artist collective Yabela, and the film production company Mototu.

Best known for his photographs depicting everyday life in Africa as reflected in puddles of water, Katembo Siku’s work had been shown at the Venice Biennale, the Berlin International Film Festival (aka the Berlinale), the New York Contemporary Art Biennial, Rencontres de Bamako, and Rencontres d’Arles.

“I hold in my hands a tool capable of showing what some refuse to consider as the appalling management of the urban environment,” he wrote about his acclaimed 2009 series “Un regard.” Works from the series are currently on view as part of a group exhibition at the Foundation Cartier in Paris.

“Photography also provides a way of seeing beyond reflection as it opens up a poetic window on another world, the world in which I live,” he continued. “I want each image to tell of the children born here who have to grow up surrounded by pools of water, and of the families who survive while others leave to live in exile.”

Kiripi Katembo Siku, "Un regard" series (2009). Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Kiripi Katembo Siku, “Un regard” series (2009).
Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Kiripi Katembo Siku, "Un regard" series (2009). Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Kiripi Katembo Siku, “Un regard” series (2009).
Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

“He was really in the prime of life, at the start of a great career in the arts,” said fellow photographer Yves Sambu in a press release. “He was also a dreamer and a seller of dreams. But he was not an illusionist because, in the end, he managed to do what he wanted.”

Kiripi Katembo Siku, "Un regard" series (2009). Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Kiripi Katembo Siku, “Un regard” series (2009).
Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Kiripi Katembo Siku, "Un regard" series (2009). Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Kiripi Katembo Siku, “Un regard” series (2009).
Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Kiripi Katembo Siku, "Un regard" series (2009). Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

Kiripi Katembo Siku, “Un regard” series (2009).
Photo: Copyright Kiripi Katembo Siku.

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