Artistic encounters
in war and violent conflict


Richard Lusakumunu Visual Artist

Richard Lusakumunu (Lusaks) is a Congolese painter who has devoted his life to teach, include, and unite people through his passion and love for art.

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Democratic Republic of Congo / France
Visual Artist

The artist

"Art means integration, inclusion, breaking loneliness and living like everyone else" - Richard Lusakumunu

For Richard Lusakumunu, art is both an expression of communication and a form of therapy that helps to integrate people in their new society. "I try to get out what's inside them and release their problems through painting", he says. "In the refugee camps you meet people who want a better life. Everyone has their own background, and art is a way of communicating this. In all our creations, there is a common point, a crossing, where we try to talk about our past".

Before moving to Europe, Richard Lusakumunu studied at the Kinshasa Academy of Fine Arts, DRC. In 2017, he had to flee from his country and managed to reach the Greek island of Samos by boat the same year. Around a year later, he received asylum in Greece and moved to Thessaloniki.

Here, he started to volunteer in the Diavata refugee camp and gave painting lessons to the camp residents. Since then, he has continued to convey his passion for art to displaced persons. He also used the painting lessons to scout for artistic talents hidden among the asylum seekers in the camp.

In 2018, he took initiative to create the art collective "Mazi" (Greek for "together") bringing together refugees and Greek artists. The collective is supported by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, non-profit NAOMI and the French Institute in Thessaloniki. It has already held three exhibitions at the institute. The collective serves as a culturally rich space for people with different backgrounds and experiences to create art together. The aim was to gather all of them and try to find some opportunities to present their art instead of keeping it for themselves. "We do not speak the same language, it is painting that unites us".

Richard Lusakumunu is now residing in France.

Selected work

L'art n'a pas de frontières! (2020), Collectif MAZI, French Institute, Thessaloniki

Art has no limits. Art goes beyond borders. Art unites us.

Muntu ya Simera (2020), Collectif MAZI, French Institute, Thessaloniki

Translated as "The Man of Today", the exhibition is about the human being today and in the future. The world of the past, and the world of the present are two very different things. Through the views of the artists and what they think of modern living, the exhibition seeks to reflect on our surroundings and the dynamic of a world in constant transformation. Induced with both darkness and humor, the exhibition also critically reflect on visual and artistic representations of refugees and other migrants, as well as contemporary moments of resistance across borders and interactions between migrants and host communities.

Mimonisa (2019), Collectif MAZI, French Institute, Thessaloniki

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