JEU-VERBE a presentation by visiting artist Ghislain Ditshekedi

August 2018

We would like to invite you to a presentation by our 4th visiting artist in 2018, Ghislain Ditshekedi from Lubumbashi in the DR Congo the presentation will be held at the Bulawayo Gallery on Thursday 16 August at the Anglo American Gallery. Born in 1982, lives and works in Lubumbashi.  Ghislain studied painting and sculpture at the Académie des Fine Arts of Lubumbashi from 2003 to 2008.

In his statement, Ditshekedi begins with the idea of Ishango’s stick, a replica of art at the Lubumbashi Museum, the first proof of a mathematical thought referring to the beauty of the African woman on scarification on the skin this is the work he had done for the exhibition the fickle angel, how to find what has been lost and who is elsewhere. How to create a representation of what is gone? Today, few people in the Congo know about the Ishango stick. At school, it is not taught we do not speak of a re-writing of the history of Africa from archaeological sources, from this long history of which we have some traces.

This is the “verb” part of the work that I express with traits that refer to a little-explored iconography of the motifs of rock paintings, featuring carved in skins or stone, but also in some cases as in Egypt or in Ethiopia by Papyrus. I represent them so as to be seen only close up on a black background. It is an invitation not to stop at the first glance but to try and immerse your self in what appears to us obscure and unintelligible.

The second part of the work, which is the most visible is a representation of the “games”, power play, gambling but also the simple playful expression of what remains a child in all of us. These games are a metaphor for relations and exchanges between Africa and other continents. Thus, I put into dialogue two types of values: intellectual values, African spiritual cultures that remain unknown and market values with the negotiations, oppressions and predictions that go with it. This is the work on the circulation of ideas and games. Ideas are the verb that comes to question the game, a game that often turns into a manifestation of power, which itself is a mask to loot, steal, etc.

In the colonial meeting, there is the phrase of Pastor Desmond Tutu on the Bible of the Europeans and the land of the Africans which are interchanged after the arrival of the whites, but Africa also had ideas, civilizations, etc. which are today lost. In Congolese art, there is a desire to work on these questions in a frontal way, to draw profuse masks, motifs, and so on but it may be falling into an essentialist trap, not to give in the game. Art gives us the opportunity to play with our oppressors and to return the eyes.

In my work, I want to return things market values, with their power play,  to be visible, in mental and spiritual values as seen in my work visible only in the dark parts of my work.  For me, it is also an invitation to the observer to this game into a game. When one looks closer to what is confined and really concerns him between the shimmering colours and the barely visible traces, like so much scarification on a veiled skin, never really understood about this “African identity”.

Ghislain Ditstsekedi is supported by an ANT Mobility Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg 



For more details please contact the Curator, email: or call us on 0026329270721