Michèle Magema is an interdisciplinary artist working mainly with video, performance, photography and drawing. Her work focuses on articulating a permanent exchange between individual stories, collective memory and History. Walking the line between personal experience and shared collective anxieties, she draws on her own stories and souvenirs to approach themes such as feminism, sociology, politics, and mythology. The exploration of her feminine identity, displaced through time and memory, reflects the image of a woman completely detached from any historically imposed exoticism. She often uses historical facts, which she reinterprets through frontal staging and various metamorphoses.
Born in Democratic Republic of Congo in 1977, the artist left Kinshasa for Paris with her family when she was six years old, to be with her father who was then a political refugee. She situates herself within an intermediate zone between North and South and questions the world through a perception hybridized by her culture of origin and her country of adoption. She often presents a critical view of the multi-layered forms of exploitation and oppression in Africa and underlines the relations between continuous violence, natural resources and corruption.
Michèle Magema’s work is shown in international institutions and included in the collections of the AfricaMuseum in Brussels (BE), Museum Rietberg in Zürich (CH), Artothèque de Villeurbanne (FR), Sindika Dokolo Foundation (AO) and Attijariwafa bank Foundation (MA). She received the first prize of the Dakar Biennale (SN) in 2004 and the Yango Biennale IFAA Prize (CD) in 2014. She has been cited in numerous articles and publications on contemporary African art such as African Artists from 1882 until now published by Phaidon in 2021, Congo as Fiction published by Museum Rietberg in 2020, or Exploring a Century of Art in Congo, written by Rachel Donadio for The New York Times in 2015.