In the serie Avenue Patrice Lumumba, Guy Tillim explores the legacy of one of the first elected political leaders in Africa who became a hero of the nationalist cause. Today, many African cities streets, avenues, squares have been named after him.

Avenue Patrice Lumumba has been shown in 2009 at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, France; The Photographers’ Gallery in London; Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and the Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal. A book has been published by Prestel.

Tillim describes his work as a wandering on some fallow lands, which in turn, led him to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Madagascar, Benin, Ghana and Angola. As part of the Biennale of Lubumbashi in the DRC organized by the ASBL PICHA in October 2013, Guy Tillim decided to exhibit his photographs at the Gallery of Contemporary Art ASBL Dialogues which shows his journey in the cities of Congo as Likasi, Lubumbashi and Kinshasa.


In many African cities, there are streets, avenues and squares named after Patrice Lumumba, one of the first elected African leaders of modern times, winning the Congo election after independence from Belgium in 1960. His speech at the independence celebrations in Léopoldville, in the presence of the Belgian King, Baudouin, unequivocally signalled his opposition to the West’s idea of neo-colonial order that would replace overt domination with indirect control.


He was murdered in January 1961. Today his image as a nationalist visionary necessarily remains unmolested by the accusations of abuse of power that became synonymous with later African heads of state.

Sources: Picha – Stevenson Gallery

Photos Guy Tillim – Text : Marie-Aude Priez