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CATPC - the artists from the plantation: A portrait by Baloji

A woman with two children all with dark brown skin and wearing white clothes, sit in an orange piece of fabric over dirt.

CATPC – the artists from the plantation. A portrait by Baloji, 2018
Film still
Image courtesy of Baloji and CATPC

MAMA was thrilled to present CATPC – the artists from the Plantation a video portrait of the collective by the Belgian-Congolese poet, musician and filmmaker Baloji. A dream-like sequence that danced through the plantation and its people, questioned the connection between the plantation system, its investors, and the funding of arts institutions globally.

Set in the lush landscape around Lusanga, in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where CATPC formed in 2014, the film was punctuated with portraits of individual artists and their artworks. Also depicted was the collective’s museum, a White Cube structure designed by OMA, on an 85-hectare plantation that had been gradually bought back as the group generated profits from its artwork sales.

The Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) was a cooperative from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that bought back land through participating in the global art market, it profitably produced and sold critically engaged art.

Concerned that the value produced from the plantations was funnelled out of local communities, former plantation workers came together with the vision of creating community owned, inclusive, ecologically sensitive ‘Post-Plantations’.

The goal of the collective was to demonstrate that an inclusive, ecological and worker-owned plantation, driven by art was more profitable and more sustainable than the exploitative model of intensively cropping monocultures on behalf of investors that still prevailed in many parts of the world.

Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous assistance from the Mondriaan Fund and Murray Art Museum Albury