b. 1995, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Lives and works in Adelaide
Pierre Mukeba was born in the shadows of civil war in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. At an early age he, along with his family, was forced to flee to a refugee camp in Zambia where food was scarce. His mother discovered that her brother was doing well in Harare, the capital Zimbabwe and he invited them to come and stay. For a brief moment life was stable until the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, ordered that anybody who wasn’t a national of Zimbabwe was to be arrested. In desperation, Mukeba’s mother approached the Australian embassy for asylum. Finally, in 2006, the family were granted residency in Adelaide.
Mukeba’s passion for art grew from the period of living with his uncle. “I used to watch him build sculptures and draw”, he says. “He taught me how to draw farms, trees and people. The basics. He inherited his talent from my grandfather, who was a famous artist in Congo. My uncle inspired me to draw more until I found it had grown into a passion. With my art I have found my own technique of drawing. I learn mostly through experimenting as I go.”
Mukeba deliberately restricts his palette to three colours. “I use the colour red as our prehistoric ancestors saw it as a sign of fire and blood,” he says. “Red is usually associated with war, strength and power. The colour blue is used to represent piety and sincerity. Lastly, the colour yellow which represents happiness and joy. Most of my artwork contains a lot of red paint as I believe that the colour red represents the emotions and lifestyle my people in Central Africa experience on a daily basis.”
- Ashley Crawford, 2017 (Art Collector, Issue 79, January - March, 2017)