(Alikuwa amekufa kwa uchawi.)(Pietà), 2022

Photo: courtesy of the artist

Kikwembe, calico, oil paint, ink, brush pen, acrylic paint, pastel, fabric on unprimed canvas
120 x 115 cm

The work "(Alikuwa amekufa kwa uchawi.)(Pietà)" ("He was dead by magic" in Swahili),  is part of a series Pierre Mukeba first presented during his solo exhibition "Amri Kumi"(""Ten Commandments" in Swahili) at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in 2022. 

Within an anachronistic storyboard, Mukeba’s characters are brought to life by the artist’s acute technical dexterity, allowing intense emotional states to capture sinful acts. Dazzling vignettes of personal experiences, articles read, images absorbed, contemporary myths told by family members and current events are interpreted into modern religious fables within sculptural windows of layered materials. Twisting and turning, we become quickly immersed in what feels like the heat of Dante’s Inferno. Weaving oneself into the story line step by step, stitch by stitch the action of the viewer – performative, deliberate – inserts a new character into the narrative. Swimming in this sea of delinquents, faced with Jung’s shadow, we grapple with our own position on religion and sin. Are we judge or executioner? Sitting in a middle ground between good and evil, dark and light or heaven and hell, Mukeba offers a position on humanity, allowing us to see a possibility that perhaps, no matter our cultural or religious background, love and forgiveness can prevail. Within dangling bodies, writhing in acts of sin, a space of healing is offered. How shall we be judged?

–Victoria Scott, 2022 (excerpt)


Group show: Remedios
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba
Curator: Daniela Zyman
Exhibition 14 April 2023 -  March 2024