Avenue Patrice Lumumba

Guy Tillim

Avenue Patrice Lumumba by South African artist Guy Tillim, examines modern history and architecture in Africa, set against the backdrop of its colonial and post-colonial roots. These poignant photographs trace Patrice Lumumba’s nationalist legacy across numerous African countries, including Mozambique, Angola and The Democratic Republic of Congo.

Patrice Lumumba was one of the first elected African leaders and became the first prime minster of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was assassinated a mere ten weeks after he spoke out against human rights violations, at a time when his country had just earned independence from Belgium in 1960. Today many African cities, streets, avenues and squares are named in his honor, representing an African dream for national unity.

Documenting social conflict in Africa has been an ongoing point of interest for Tillim, who takes a journalistic approach to revealing spaces imbued with complex histories. The environments he captures testify to conflict, decay and violently contested ideologies, yet they speak equally to aspirations for liberation and progress in a post-colonial era.

Presented with the Design Exchange and Wedge Curatorial Projects.

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago. Funding for this exhibition has been provided by the Lannan Foundation.