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Freddy Tsimba

Freddy Tsimba
Freddy Tsimba was born in Kinshasa (DRC) in 1967. He lives in Kinshasa.
Having studied monumental sculpture at the city’s School of Fine 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. Tsimba’s works are bleak but they are not designed to shock. His intention is to depict and denounce war, both in Congo and all other conflicts. The harsh nature of the message does not mean that the shapes are without beauty. The depiction of pregnant women conveys a message of hope as Tsimba tells us that despite everything, “life always prevails.”
Freddy Tsimba does not limit himself to using cartridge cases. He works with plenty of other collected metal items, which for some symbolize death (machetes and mousetraps), for others oppression (chains) and addiction (capsules). In fact, the symbolism of the works is very frequently two-fold, as the message behind the works is never hopeless. For instance, keys express imprisonment but also the idea of opening the door to freedom, while spoons convey both hunger and subsistence, and Tsimba likes to reiterate that machetes are first and foremost agricultural tools. Freddy Tsimba is an internationally renowned artist who has exhibited widely around the world. One of his works - Au-delà de l’espoir – is located in the famous Matonge district of Brussels. Tsimba also created the set for the stunning baroque opera-ballet Coup Fatal using cartridge cases. Tsimba just keeps on creating and is always on the move and willing to chat, and draws inspiration from opportunities and encounters. He unveiled unique works at his last solo exhibition (Au-delà de l’extrême in Kinshasa in 2016): two large Anges déchus (Fallen Angels), masks made from melted cartridge cases (the Rescapés series) and stunning female silhouettes seen from behind, which were surprisingly sensual, despite being made from chains and keys.
Freddy Tsimba is friendly, cheerful and positive and is as gentle as his work is harsh. This may seem paradoxical; yet great sensitivity is required to tenaciously pay tribute over time to anonymous suffering. There is something extremely heartening in his work and journey.

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Freddy Tsimba : Photo Album

Freddy Tsimba, le congolais « sculpteur de la vie », africanews, 30 oct. 2016