THONTON KABEYA, Congo

Thonton Kabeya in his studio in Johannesburg, photo copyright Patrizia Litty

Thonton Kabeya


Thonton Kabeya was born in 1983, in the D.R.C. He presently lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He is a graduate from the Institute of Fine Arts of Lubumbashi. In 2006 he won two awards: the UNAIDS AWARD and the BELGIUM COUNCIL AWARD. He is part of many collections around the world such as the Contemporary Art Museum of Vitoria (ARTIUM) in Spain,  Unisa Art Collection (South Africa).  George Forest in D.R.C.  Erick Vellard in Paris (France).


Artist Statement


I’m trying to push the limit and the boundary that exist between painting and sculpture, I want to change the way people look at Painting, I sculpt the canvas and create my artistic language. I’m not trying to make a sculpture or a painting or mixed media technique, but find my own way to express myself and to connect with myself.


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‘How would African classic art have developed organically, if there had been no interference or influence of colonialism and Western society?

I’m not asking this question in order to get a response, but to explore what remains of ‘original’ African art within a contemporary context. I attempt to create a visual solution through my cultural understanding and artistic skills. The main focus lies on the process and technical perfection. My work becomes a never ending series of questions such as:
“What material is this?’ and “How did you make this?”.
These are unusual questions in the world of fine art today. However, when looking at African classic art, these are questions that arise naturally.

Don’t not look for a message in my work, but the deep power that my art projects.’


Selected Exhibitions


2020 | Faces Of Africa, group show, LITTYcontemporary.art

2019 | “Secret Garden”, group show, ART Franschhoek, South Africa

2019 | Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa

2018 | solo show, “Memories Of Innocence”, ODA | fine art, South Africa

2018 I Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa

2017 I Gallery 2, Johannesburg , South Africa

2017 I ODA, Fine Art, Franschhoek, South Africa

2017 I Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa

2017 I Artium Museum of Contemporary Art, Vitoria, Spain

2016 I ODA, Fine Art, Franschhoek, South Africa

2015 I Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa

2015 I S Art Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2014 I Lizamore and Associates Gallery, Johannesburg, SA

2014 I Bag Factory, artist residence, Johannesburg. South Africa

2013 I Institut Francois of Lubumbashi, D.R.C

2012 I International Art Fair of Casablanca, Morocco

2010 I The Contemporary Art Museum of Vitoria (Artium), Spain

2009 I Gallery Kalao Arte, Bilbao, Spain

2009 I Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France

2009 I Afrique en Creation, Festival, Aachen, Germany

2008 I Dak’art 2008 (Biennale), Senegal 2008 I Gallery Leopold Sedar Senghor, Dakar, Senegal

2007 I MAMAC Museum of Liege, Belgium


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