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Spoils of Consumerism: The Amazing Trash Costumes of KINACT FESTIVAL

Colin Delfosse

The streets of Kinshasa, the capital of D.R. Congo, are home to the brilliant art festival KINACT FESTIVAL. The festival was founded in 2015 by local artist Eddy Ekete and French artist Aude Bertrand, and run by artist collectives who perform in working-class Congolese neighborhoods. I came across these otherworldly costumes made of the refuse that is threatening the lives of Kinshasa’s residents through Nyege Nyege Tape’s platform (the artist collective that organizes the festival will be releasing their debut album through Nyege Nyege in 2025).

These wearable sculptures act as performance pieces and stunning commentary on Congolese history and modern-day circumstances. The artists who make these costumes reference consumerism, pollution, war, genocide, colonization, disease, and drugs, but they take on all of these horrific topics with levity and joy. All of these intricate costumes move and flow to the music and dance that’s a part of the fest, despite being made of materials like jerrycans, wires, tubing, syringes, condoms, doll parts, and so much more. These artists take literal trash and find beauty in what we throw away, crafting it into beings with a life of their own.

Belgian photographer Colin Delfosse captured the following series of portraits of the KinAct artists in 2019 after the KinAct Festival, many of whom are a part of the art and music collective NDAKU YA LA VIE EST BELLE. Check them out below:

Hemock Kilomboshi
Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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