Thonton Kabeya mainly depicts young children affected by the genocide in central Africa. “My work revolves around the fragility of humankind, and children in particular. My concept is summed up as follows: from fragility to power or from power to fragility, metamorphosis of creation” explains Kabeya. Kabeya’s exploration of portraits of children began during the rainy season in Congo. Working in watercolour, the artist allows streams of water to freely flow over his portraits, resulting in the distortion and deconstruction of his models. “The portraits are exposed… some of them are emptied of their colour or a face half destroyed by rain or water resulting in the canvasses becoming white again – with only traces of pencil sketching, much like the traces of the bullets after the passage of an army… just a souvenir…”
Thonton Kabeya was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently he lives and works between the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.. Kabeya has since 2007 participated in numerous exhibitions in Africa and Europe. After his residency at the Bag Factory, Johannesburg, Kabeya decided to stay in South Africa to pursue his career as a visual artist.
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