Initiated by: Philippe Mikobi (National Museum Lubumbashi, DRC) and Maarten Vanden Eynde (Enough Room for Space, Drogenbos, BE)
Location: National Museum of Lubumbashi, Lubumbashi, DRC and Enough Room for Space, Drogenbos, Belgium
National Museum Lubumbashi: Serge Songa Songa, Anne-Marie Bupe Kashulwe, Rosalie Ngengele Zawadi, John Mukabila
University of Lubumbashi: Prof. Donatien Dibwe dia Mwembu, Prof. Kizobo Obweng Okwes
Partners: Centre Cerfaux-Lefort, Louvain-la-Neuve (BE), MusAfrica, Namur (BE), Quai Branly Museum, Paris (FR), University of Lubumbashi (DRC)
ERforS HQ (open on appointment):
Sterstraat 10 Rue de l'Etoile
1620 Drogenbos, Belgium
Institute of Colonial Culture (ICC) - Research on Congolese Heritage
ICC consists of a collection of artefacts, documents, books, photographs and films representing colonial presence in Congo, mainly focusing on the period 1884-1960. There is hardly any tangible material left in Congo of that period, due to the hastily departure of most colonisers after the independence in 1960. ICC is an institute, existing separately but hosted in DR Congo by the National Museum in Lubumbashi and in Belgium by Enough Room for Space (ERforS), that creates a permanent archive of objects, clothes, letters, photo's, audio and video recordings, books and documents representing colonial culture. Or put differently, the daily life and work of white European colonists in the colonial period. The Kingdom of Kongo, and later Congo Free State was occupied by and/or traded with the Portuguese, French, Dutch, Belgian, German and English, and covers the entire or part of the currently known countries: Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo Kinshasa), Angola, The Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Burundi and Rwanda).
The aim is to remedy a void in the collection of the National Museum, but also the public knowledge about the colonial period, both in Belgium and DR Congo, by creating an archive of colonial culture, the first of its kind in DR Congo. By doing so, it facilitates a more egalitarian writing of history, where the dominant ethnographic western view towards colonisation and African cultures in general, is reversed. ICC puts western culture under an 'African microscope' by using material and documentation from both colonisers and colonised.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic travelling to DR Congo and shipping books and artefact became increasingly difficult, and with the huge amounts of archival materials still coming in, the decision was made to install the archive in the project space of Enough Room for Space until further notice. Here, both researchers and artists can work with the material and slowly start with the re-contextualisation of all the material. Several artists already started working with one or more objects or books prior to the official opening, and institutional partners are also connecting to ICC, like MusAfrica in Namen, Belgium, Quai Branly museum in Paris, France, Centre Cerfaux-Lefort in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium and University of Lubumbashi in D.R. Congo.