29.05 — 01.06

Sammy Baloji Lubumbashi-Brussels

Missa Utica

performance / music — premiere


Stair-climbing (up or down) | French → NL, EN | ⧖ 1h | €20 / €16

The first Black bishop te be appointed by the Catholic Church was supposed to settle in Utica, Tunisia but never arrived there. In this new creation, Sammy Baloji retraces the priest's journey. Missa Utica plunges us into the history of slavery, the Kongo Kingdom of the 15th century and the evangelisation of Africa. The project is inspired by the Missa Luba, a Latin mass developed by a 20th-century Belgian missionary, using traditional Congolese songs. This music is reinterpreted by Barbara Drazkov and Pytshens Kambilo, becoming a dialogue of friction between classical European music and Congolese rumba. We witness first contact and diplomatic exchange, alliance and misalliance, becoming sharply aware of colonial strategic issues and enslavement. We see Africa’s colonised past collide with current political and economic reality. The narrative of actress Bwanga Pilipili presents several tableaux imagining a mass filled with the iconography of great Congolese heroes. Under the Mercerie’s impressive glass roof and on a large carpet woven in Tunisia, Baloji’s installation shows disparate territories and histories across pre- and post-colonial eras finally reconnected.

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, KANAL - Centre Pompidou, Mercerie
Research, concept and direction: Sammy Baloji | Text: Fiston Mwanza Mujila | Performance: Bwanga Pilipili | Musical composition and performance: Pytshens Kambilo, Barbara Drazkov | Sound technician: Jérôme Mylonas | Costumes: Samira Benali | Production: Estelle Lecaille, Marek Szponik | Carpet design: Silvana De Bari | Carpet production: Salah Amamou, Amel Jelassi, Kaouthar Hedli, Olfa Bjaoui, Hanen Hedli, Marwa Saidani | Klim production: Zohra Ben Othman
Production: L’Art Rue, Twenty Nine Studio & Production | Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, KANAL - Centre Pompidou, Dream City Festival, Museo delle Civiltà
With the support of Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles

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