Mwenze Kibwanga (1925-1999), Democratic Republic of the Congo

S.O.S Patrimoine

, 1968

Oil on cardboard

14 x 20 1/2 in. (35 x 52 cm)


About this artwork

Kibwanga Mwenze was one of the foremost mid-20th century artists from what was then called the Belgian Congo. In this work, he uses references to the country’s rich artistic heritage to proclaim its unique identity, and, with the title, SOS, to emphasize its vulnerability in precarious times. The kneeling figure in the center of the map possibly refers to a well-known Luba style of carving. The lattice-work design of the background is similar to the pattern seen on many Kuba objects from the Congo.

Artcurial. “The Artists of the Hangar, at the Origins of Contemporary African Art.” African Modern Art. Auction March 24, 2021. Accessed May 3, 2023.

Dr Carol Ann Dixon. “Senghor’s Contribution to the Making of Dakar as an Art World City.” Museum Geographies, August 20, 2014.

Elizabeth Harney. In Senghor's Shadow: Art, Politics, and the Avant-Garde in Senegal, 1960–1995. Duke University Press, November 2004.