Defiant Sculpture: Isek Bodys Kingelez and Mobutu Sese-Seko’s Authenticité, 1990s
Now taking place online on 10 March - time still to be confirmed.
‘In this lecture I discuss Mobutu Sese-Seko who, as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (1965-1996), exemplified the theatrical Big Man ruler in postcolonial Africa. By deploying anti-Communist rhetoric, he secured Western Bloc support of his spectacularly kleptocratic regime and, through his antiWestern Authenticité program, created a national culture in his own image. Against Mobutu’s repressive political practice and ideology, I read the architectural sculptures of Isek Bodys Kingelez (1948-2015). I argue that their extravagant hypermodernity, as with segments of popular arts, constitute a distinctive form of imaginative resistance to official culture under Mobutu.’
Date: 10 March 2023, 17:00 (Friday, 8th week, Hilary 2023)
Venue: Book by emailing
Speaker: Chika Okeke-Agulu
Organising department: Department of History of Art
Organiser: Alexander Stavrou (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Part of: Slade Lectures 2023: African Artists in the Age of the Big Man
Booking required?: Required
Booking email:
Audience: Public
Editor: AB Siegenthaler