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Witnessed: An Installation by Lionel-Bravo Bumbakini

  • Dateline Gallery 3004 Larimer Street Denver, CO, 80205 United States (map)

Opening reception February 11, 6PM-11PM

In honor of Black History month, DATELINE will be hosting "Witnessed" an installation which reflects on racial relations in America today. The installation will consist of a mock crime scene, in which life-sized paper maché figures play out a scene all too familiar in today’s society.  

A young black man has just been shot by a white police officer. The viewer is invited to analyze the clues, taking on the roles of investigator, judge, and jury. It will be the viewer’s responsibility to analyze the facts, connect the dots, and come to their own conclusions as to who's at fault.

Lionel-Bravo Bumbakini is a Boulder-based artist originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He is a politically conscious artist who experiments in abstract expressionism and provocative installations.

From the Artist:

My inspiration comes from being born to refugee parents, my mother making her way out the villages to being a Ph.D. African Art curator and introducing me to the world of art before I could even walk--I tagged along with her to behind the scenes of the likes of exhibitions at the Smithsonian, New York art institutes, and private collectors’ homes, her exhibition for the DuSable Museum of African Art was on display for years, long after we had made our way to Denver.

It comes from my father who had to seek political asylum for organizing and standing up against an oppressive political regime that was orchestrated by the colonial powers that once ruled the nation. My mother sparked my creativity, while my father taught me the power of the voice and the strength to stand up for what is right and just. It comes from living on the Southside of Chicago, and learning the hard way what being poor and colored in America feels and looks like. It comes from the parallel of living in Boulder and being surrounded by wealth that my family back in the villages of the DRC couldn't imagine.

I am inspired by the injustices, prejudices, and vices that have brought today's society to a near standstill. I believe that it is time the we deconstructed the walls we have built between ourselves and that art through history has always been a bridge; a highway of information for which knowledge of our very selves and the world that surrounds us is attainable. Art to me is a vehicle of connection and community. It is what makes man, man! What separates us from animals is our ability to laugh, and also our propensity to create. I chose papier maché for this exposé because I wanted to tap back into my childhood. I wanted to something that reminded me of being a child, because I didn't know racism as a child. When you're kid it doesn't matter if Lisa is yellow, Chris is black, and Dylan white. But as you outgrow your childhood you develop these prejudices that plague our societies today. I want to subliminally take people back to their childhood through the materials used, but the subject matter is for their adult (grown up) selves to digest, and digress; I want people to began to deconstruct the destructive ideas about race (specifically for this installation) that have brought us to this tipping point in racial relations today.

Earlier Event: February 3
PRESENCE: Reflections on the Middle East
Later Event: February 3
4 Person Show