Chosen by a jury of collectors and gallerists in Brussels, two Congolese photographers, winners of the Foundation Moonens prize, exhibit their artworks at the “Dialogues” Gallery in Lubumbashi.

Founded in Brussels in 2013 in honor of the Belgian painter and pedagogue Laurent Moonens (1911-1991), the Moonens Foundation is planning on, besides administering his works to extend his educational career in “facilitating the exercise of their vocation for Artists and Creators”.

On the sidelines of homes offered annually to art schools’ graduates, the “Laurent Moonens Prize” echoes the Moonens pedagogical commitment to Congolese artists in the 50s.
After creating the School of the Stanley Pool to Kinshasa in 1948, it is in Lubumbashi in 1951 that Moonens created “the Academy of Fine Arts and Art of Crafts” that he managed and where he gave painting lectures for eight years. Rejecting the use of “European methods” his pedagogy honors the sensitivity and personal creativity of art students. Today, the “Fine Arts Institute of Lubumbashi” Moonens Academy successfully continues its mission sixty years later.

In October 2015, the Dialogues Gallery sponsors the launch of the biography written by photographer Michael de Plaen about painter Mode Muntu (1940-1985 and former student of Moonens). The “Session Lubumbashi 2015 of the Laurent Moonens Prize”, African version of the original event was organized together with the launch of the book. The work of 46 candidates have been documented and submitted to a jury of artists, collectors, gallery owners in Brussels. The Lubumbashi photographers Mustache Muhanya and Alain Nsenga Pelesa were designated as winners.

Mustache Muhanya Mwamba

Born in Angola in 1985, Mustache Muhanya Mwamba grew up in Lubumbashi and attended the Moonens Academy where he graduated in fine arts and photography before moving to Kinshasa to continue his studies. Ironically, his passion for photography feeds on the absence of photos of him as a child.

Photography by Mustache Muhanya Mwamba

His works deal with freedom which “must be lived and not be told” and give a positive vision of Africa “smiles hidden behind Africa’s mask”.
Also director and set designer, Mustache often takes part in numerous artistic projects and events.

Alain Nsenga Pelesa

Born in Likasi in 1986, Alain Nsenga Pelesa studied at the Computer Science School of Lubumbashi (ESIS) from which he graduated in Design & Multimedia.
Co-founder of the Touch Design agency, he teaches photography at the ESIS since 2013.

Loaded truck in Lubumbashi, DRC. Photo by Alain Nsenga
Winner of the JEA contest (African Child’s Day) organized by the UNICEF, Alain collaborates with numerous cultural institutions in Lubumbashi (French Institute, Centre d’Art Picha, Contemporary Gallery, Wallonie Bruxelles, etc …) and often participates in the Biennale of Lubumbashi.
His work is exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp for the Maono project. Under the aegis of the Dialogues Foundation, these two artists, winners of Session Lubumbashi 2015 of the Laurent Moonens Prize exhibit at the Contemporary Art Gallery located in the National Museum of Lubumbashi from 7 October 2016.