White Cube is Renzo's most recent documentary with its IDFA debut in November. The film follows the director in his pursuit in helping Congolese people, and more specifically palm oil and cocoa plantation workers who are being exploited, reclaim their land from the conglomerate Unilever.
In order to do this he had an idea to help create a new economic system. Therefore he collaborated with local artists who make cast sculpture covered in chocolate to bring their art to the western world and make a profit out of it. Through the use of 3D printing these sculptures were then presented in New York and Berlin, exposed to critics, as well as ultimately sold. These profits then funded the White Cube which is a metaphor for western supremacy. Ironically it has only local art inside.
One of the artists which was featured in these events is Mathieu Kasiama. Today he still works on his sculptures and is gaining more and more recognition which is allowing him to be part of the long term plan of completely reclaiming the land that was overpowered by the Western world for over 100 years. His sculptures represent the lives of the Congolese people and their social struggles.
This shows us that there is still a lot of light that has to be shed on the African world that is overshadowed by the privilege of the Western Culture and is a good beginning to a social shift as these artist can shed light about what is truly happening in their cultures.In the end this is one way these people who helped fund the western art culture are now able to own it themselves.
The Repatriation of the White Cube: How Should the Rural Capitalise on Art? A Conversation with Renzo Martens, Artistic Director of the Institute for Human Activities : OnCurating
Artists help workers in Congo: who benefits from this? : NRC.NL