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Faustin Linyekula

biography

7EVEN

I have chosen to explore the 7th necessity from the EGIPC manifesto : « I have to tell you that I am abandoning you and leaving you my statue ». This refers to both my own story and to the collective story, questioning what disappears and what remains. Such as what movement is for a dancer.

Faustin Linyekula (Democratic Republic of Congo 1974, Ubundu) is an exceptionally gifted choreographer whose work vividly communicates the complex experience of living with conflict. When local opportunities were blocked by government closure of universities, Linyekula moved to Kenya where he joined a theatre and dance workshop. In 1993, he co-founded Kenya’s first contemporary dance group and a prize at Angola’s International Dance Festival resulted in invitations to perform internationally. Linyekula was commissioned to create Tales Off the Mud Walls for Vienna’s 2002 Summer Tanz Festival.
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Despite his burgeoning international reputation, in 2001 Linyekula returned to Congo where he set up a teaching studio and created a ‘homecoming’ work entitled Spectacularly Empty, which explores the chaos of memory and realities of return. Drawing on his personal experience and engagement with the lives of people in the Congo context, Linyekula’s works are deeply humanistic and paradoxical narratives. Spare yet rich, simple yet complex, physical yet philosophical, they mix global influences and ironic local detail. Addressing the complexities of history, identity and conflict with courage, introspection, sensitivity and humour, Linyekula raises questions about the post-colonial condition and the violence done to ethics. In his hands, dance is a tool for bearing witness and for engaging with the outcomes of that witnessing. Faustin Linyekula is honoured for his outstanding choreography, for his bold return to the turbulent context of the Congo, for his innovative activation of culture in the face of conflict, and for his energetic commitment to the development of his community.