Gosette Lubondo


Democratic Republic of Congo

Born in Kinshasa in 1993, Gosette Lubondo discovered photography at an early age through her father, a professional photographer. From the age of 14, she tried her hand at studio photography, taking part in several workshops organised by Kinshasa-based cooperatives (Eza Possibles and M’Pongo) and the ‘Les Lieux’ sessions led by the Belgian photographer Alexandre Christiaens. In 2014, she received her diploma in visual communication at the Académie des Beaux-Arts art school in Kinshasa and took part in her first exhibition Lady by Lady in Kinshasa, an event organised by the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles (a cultural centre promoting Francophone Belgian artists), in partnership with KinArtStudio. In 2015, she participated in portfolio viewings and discussions organised as part of the Bamako biennial photography exhibition under the aegis of the art critic Simon Njami and with support from the Goethe Institut in Johannesburg. Her series Imaginary Trip was displayed at the 2016 edition of the Kampala biennial photography exhibition in Uganda, and at the 2017 edition of the Art Paris Art Fair, where she was represented by the gallery L’Agence à Paris.

Imaginary Trip II

2017 Photographic Residencies

The photographic project Imaginary Trip II expands the artist’s exploration of remembrance of places and individuals. Developed in 2016 through her series Imaginary Trip I, her concept involves using abandoned areas left to nature to produce scenes and reconstructions. The purpose of these photographs is not just to keep the memory of these places alive, but to shed new light on their past and explore their meaning in today’s societal context.

For the Photographic Residencies at the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Gosette Lubondo chose to focus on the former school of the village Gombe Matadi in the Kongo-Central province, in the south-west of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Founded in 1936 — during the period of the Belgian Congo — by Brother Adrien, a member the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the school centralised learning among new secondary school pupils from the region’s rural schools, hence its name ‘École centrale’ (Central School). As a prestigious, highly selective boarding school, the institute could welcome up to 500 pupils at that time.
However, in the 1970s, the Brothers had to sell the school to the new government formed under the president Joseph-Désiré Mobutu as part of the latter’s radical nationalisation and so-called Zaïrianisation of the country. The rural exodus caused by this policy dealt a mortal blow to the ‘École centrale’ which
subsequently fell into disuse.

By turning her attention to this remnant of history, Gosette Lubondo explores her country’s past as much as she does her own story. Indeed, she discovered this ghostlike site through her parents, whose generation see this place as a fantasy, a dream stuck in time. Furthermore, by appearing alongside other models depicted as fictive characters from the past — the school’s pupils, teachers and staff members — the photographer has sought to revive the story of a place that bears historical witness to the colonial era. By giving prominence to anonymous characters against a phantom backdrop in ambiguous temporality, her photographs question the reality of these ruins.

Series produced between 2017-2018.

Gosette Lubondo : Imaginary Trip II