This article explores the entanglement of Congolese popular painting with photography through the case of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who was assassinated in 1961. Lumumba’s final public appearance was immortalized in a series of photographs and newsreel footage that was disseminated around the world. The author contends that the events thereafter are frequently envisioned by Congolese popular painting, as it takes over from the operations of the camera in an era largely defined by the photographic. The article suggests that photography and Congolese popular painting are enmeshed in the creation of a visual archive around the figure of Lumumba. Furthermore, it examines the indebtedness of popular painting to photographic culture as well as other sources in the “colonial contact zone.”

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