Contemporary African artist Maurice Mbikayi uses e-waste as symbols of technology and its impact on communities

Maurice Mbikayi interrogates the proliferation of technological commerce in our geopolitical system. Technology’s reliance on mining for resources, for instance, has made African countries and their people vulnerable to resource extraction and low-wage labour abuse. Mbikayi collects remnants of this rapidly developing technology and incorporates them in his work, resulting in sculptures, photographs and performances that link the materials back to their political contexts. 

Maurice Mbikayi was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo in 1974. He graduated with a BA in Graphic Design (Advertising and Visual Communication), from the Academies des Beaux-Arts in Kinshasa. He completed his Master of Fine Arts degree (with distinction) in 2015 at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.

Mbikayi has been featured in exhibitions globally, including, among others, Belgium, Cuba, Italy, Malta, Austria, France, Switzerland, Senegal, South Africa, the DRC, and the USA. His work has been included in various exhibitions such as CONGOVILLE in Middelheim Museum in Antwerp; Kunsthalle Tübingen Stiftung in Germany; the World Bank (the World Bank Art Program) in Washington DC; the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts of Michigan; the South Africa National Gallery; Still Here Tomorrow To High Five You Yesterday, an exhibition of Afrofuturist art at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art; Congo Stars, a survey of Congolese art from the 1960s to today, at the Kunsthaus Graz Museum in Austria; and Digital Imaginaries: Africas in Production, a collaboration between Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg, Kër Thiossane in Dakar, and ZKM in Karlshrue, Germany.

He was selected as one of the finalists of Luxembourg Art Prize in 2016 and was selected as a core participant in the ‘Between the Lines’ symposium of 2013, an exchange between Michaelis and the Braunschweig University of Art in Germany. He also took part in the Spier Contemporary 2010 Biennale presented by the Africa Centre in Cape Town and the Hollard Creative Exchange program of 2010-2011. In 2010 he was selected by the Alliance Française for a traveling solo exhibition in South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique. He was awarded a three-month residency at IAAB in Basel, Switzerland by Pro Helvetia South Africa. Mbikayi’s work is included in the permanent collections of The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, The Pérez Art Museum in Miami, The Iziko South African National Gallery, Galila’s P.O.C, Bernard and Fabiana Ecclestone, the Scheryn Art Collection, Progressive Art Collection, Spier Arts Trust and Yellowwoods Art.