An internationally-renowned sculptor, Freddy Tsimba brings out the life and charm of objects which kill or symbolize oppression. His work is based on a mantra: never give up when faced with injustice.

Freddy Tsimba_Portrait_Galerie Angalia
© Azgard Itambo, 2021

Born in Kinshasa (DRC) in 1967. Lives in Kinshasa.

Having studied large-scale sculpture at the city’s Académie des Beaux-arts(1989), Tsimba spent five years alongside master blacksmiths and master casters to learn their trade.

He made a name for himself by collecting cartridge cases from conflict areas and painstakingly welding them together to create sculptures. These sihouettes effacées (anonymous silhouettes), the nameless victims of human folly, are mainly women who are pregnant and bear the traces of mutilation. Freddy pays tribute to them, he bears witness to and denounces war, both the wars in DR Congo and all other conflicts.

He works with plenty of other collected metal items, which for some symbolize death, for others oppression, and even addiction. The symbolism of the works is very often two-fold. For instance, keys express imprisonment but also the idea of opening the door to freedom. The message behind the works is never hopeless. Despite the horrors and injustices, “the earth is brighter than paradise” he tells us, echoing his major solo exhibition of 2021 at the Africa Museum in Belgium (La terre plus belle que le paradis). The harsh nature of the message does not mean that the shapes are without beauty. This is one of the additional challenges that this extraordinary artist sets himself: creating beauty with artefacts of death and oppression.

In situ