Objects of war from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s war zones have become material for sculptor, Freddy Tsimba.
Tsimba is known for using discarded metals like bullets casings, keys, spoons and machetes in his latest collection which focused on pregnant forms.
The artist has plenty of material to work with to produce intricate pieces given Congo’s past – colonization, dictatorship and successive conflicts.
“This exhibition is a work of love for me, because I always say that I like the concept of the afterlife, but I especially like planet earth, because I live on earth and through this exhibition, it symbolizes reconciliation with humanity. That is why I use the female form because for me, life happens because of women,” he said.
“I am really happy because I have always been impressed by the artist’s works, first of all with the materials that he uses. He has been trying to diversify his medium beyond bullets and is trying to use other metals. It’s very impressive the way he manages to make his sculptures look so big. I am really happy because there is also a certain depth to his work that comes through in his work, especially with bodies and angles. We don’t know where they come from,” said art lover, Patrick Ntambwe.
‘‘I wasn’t expecting to find this type of art exhibition, because this is someone who is trying to get us to think outside of the box. He uses keys and mouse traps to create his art, so he is trying to get us to see beyond what’s in front of our eyes. It’s strange and incredible at the same time,” said a guest at Tsimba’s exhibition, Patsheli Kahambo.
Freddy Tsimba’s inspiration also comes from his personal experience having lost a brother during one of the conflicts that have afflicted the DRC since the mid-1990s.
He spends time combing battle grounds for relics and objects of conflict.
“I try to find materials that mean and symbolize something. For the bullet cartridges, the machetes, crushed corks found in the streets of Kinshasa, I use all those things to sculpt bodies, like pregnant women’s bodies, children. I am a believer in life and life is beautiful and I try to portray and recreate the human body, using all these elements that most people may not associate with beauty,” he added.
Tsimba’s work has also been displayed in Europe, the United States and Canada.
Admirers see him as part of a new generation of Congolese artists helping to change the perception of Congo as a poor, corrupt and war-torn country.