'21st Century: Art in the First Decade' is an exhibition, publication, blog and series of public programs at the Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art that explore the art of the past ten years. As an expanded platform for the exhibition, the '21st Century Blog' functions as a source book of reference material and contributions provided by artists, curators and writers. Read more



Guy Tillim | City Hall, Lubumbashi, DR Congo 2007 from ‘Avenue Patrice Lumumba’ series 2008 | Inkjet print (Epsom Ultracrhome HDR ink) on Hahnemühle photo rag 300 gsm paper | 91.5 x 131.5cm, Ed. 2/9 | Purchased 2010 with funds from the Bequest of Grace Davies and Nell Davies through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Guy Tillim ‘City Hall, Lubumbashi, DR Congo’ 2007

Guy Tillim’s approach to photography might be characterised as turning away from the ‘event’, so prized by the international press, and focusing instead on the less sensational yet more revealing moments. His images capture the complex and nuanced details of everyday life in what is reductively termed ‘conflict zones’. While Tillim’s earlier work documented contemporary political struggles in Africa, the Avenue Patrice Lumumba series explore the intersection between African colonial history and the present day. The series portrays sites in African cities connected (either by name or spirit) to Patrice Lumumba (1925-61). Lumumba was a Congolese independence leader during Belgian colonial rule and, in 1960, became the first democratically elected leader of the Congo. At the Congolese Independence Day celebrations of June 1960 Lumumba was excluded from the official proceedings (despite holding the position of Prime Minister) but delivered an unscheduled response to the Belgian king. Pointing to the atrocities that took place under colonial rule, Lumumba’s speech was harshly criticised by many Europeans but became a rallying cry for African independence across the continent. In January 1961, following months of political unrest, Lumumba was murdered. It is the widely held belief that Belgian agents were responsible for the assassination with the collusion of the American Central Intelligence Agency.

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