How does the traveller see it?
(Fragment of a post from a Facebook page)
This painting remained unsold for ten years. Artist Emma (short for Emmanuel) drew it in 2012, for the 50th anniversary of Burundi’s independence.
All these years later, he’d already forgotten the name of the “bad” governor depicted on the left-hand side of the piece. The events on the canvas are pretty simple: under Belgian rule, Burundi saw shackles, executions and mass outflows of refugees.
When the colonizers left, there was a nationwide wave of joy. The people ripped off their chains and broke into dance.
So why did nobody buy the painting? After independence came to Burundi, the local Hutu and Tutsi populations launched a bloody civil war that took hundreds of thousands of human lives and ended (relatively speaking) in 2005 thanks to the mediation efforts of Nelson Mandela. The situation did not reach the level of genocide with a million victims like it did in neighboring Rwanda, and this was for one simple reason: the Tutsi people never completely lost power.
For that reason, you won’t be able to sell this sort of agitprop to Burundians. European buyers, on the other hand – the main customer base – know the history of postcolonialism in Africa quite well. They prefer to buy masks, drums and contemporary African art. Whereas for me – a collector of history – this painting fit perfectly.
In 2014, RuZZia occupied our Donbass. For eight years, they painted a similar picture of things on TV – showing how miserably the people of Donbass lived as part of Ukraine and how happy they became after Russia arrived. But Russia was unable to “sell” this con. The people of Donetsk, like the rest of the world, saw Ukrainian Mariupol, a city where life was much better than it was in occupied Donetsk. Then, the pseudoartist and manipulator of reality, to whom we ironically awarded the title of “Huilo”, decided to try and remove Ukraine from the world map. To bring the surrealism rampant in his swollen brain onto our land.
Shall we send him to a place where he can paint demons in person?