'Congo does not exist. It is only a river and the big forest.’ - Eric Vuillard


Faustin Linyekula

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At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, the Congo basin was allocated to King Leopold the second by the European powers carving up the African continent. Since then, the country has had many names - the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, Zaire, Congo-Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo - and at least as many conquerors, independence fighters, explorers and dictators. ‘Congo does not exist. It is only a river and the big forest’, according to one of the French writer Éric Vuillard’s characters in his documentary novel Congo. In this ode to his homeland, Faustin Linyekula reflects on this claim, continuing his lifetime exploration of his country. Together with Pasco Losanganya and Daddy Moanda Kamono, he gives his country a voice and a face using dance, text and sound.

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Frascati programme associate artists

For two weeks Frascati theatre will be the home of associate artists William Kentridge and Faustin Linyekula. Alongside performances by themselves and artists who inspire them, there will be a lot of work from their studios.

These presentations show the importance of Kentridges The Centre for the Less Good Idea and Linyekula’s Studios Kabako, and how they function. There will be a unique and exciting programme in which the boundaries between various artforms disappear. Also, we will be organising a series of debates, called The Welcome Table, in which themes from the presentations (that are also topical in the Netherlands) are discussed.

Kentridge and Linyekula use The Centre For The Less Good Idea and Studios Kabako to give both young and more experienced (performing) artists the space, opportunities and inspiration to work on their oeuvre. For Amsterdam they selected work using different criteria: Linyekula is giving two young artists the opportunity to test new work on Dutch audiences as works-in-progress; Kentridge selected presentations from all the seasons thus far been organised at The Centre.

Choose one or more parts of the programme and be surprised by performances that not only add a new perspective to Kentridge and Linyekula’s artistry, but also tell new stories – from intensely political reflections, exceptional childhood memories and attempts to create new myths for a new era.



Faustin Linyekula (Congo, 1974) is a Congolese dancer, choreographer, theatre maker and storyteller. In his work he addresses the legacy of decades of war,

 terror, fear and the collapse of the economy in Africa. After studying literature and drama Linyekula left Congo in 1993, at the time still called Zaïre, and settled in Nairobi, Kenya. There, he cofounded the first Kenyan company for contemporary dance, Gàara, in 1997. In 2001 he returned to Zaïre, by now the Democratic Republic of Congo. In spite of the bloody conflict ravaging the country, he decided to stay and founded in Kinshasa the Studios Kabako, a creation and research space for performing art.

Together with four dancers who were trained by him, he created Spectacularly Empty, an account of his return to his native country. It was the first in a series of works in which Linyekula reflected on the history and the collective memory of his country and its people, the corruption of its leaders, their censorship and their lack of vision for the future. Two of these pieces, Le Festival des Mensonges (2005) and The Dialogues Series: iii. Dinozord (2006), were invited to the Festival d'Avignon in 2007, the first time such an invitation was extended to a Sub-Saharan African artist. In 2012, he made a sequel, Sur les traces de Dinozord, which will be shown at the Holland Festival this year with a brand new cast of young talents.

In 2006, the Studios Kabako moved to Kisangani in the North-East of the country and opened up to new artistic fields, including music and film. Alongside, indeed, fostering the work of younger Congolese artists, from training to production and touring, the Studios Kabako are also working with communities of the Lubunga district on the South Bank of the Congo river, around culture, education and drinking water issue. In total, Linyekula created 17 pieces with his Studios Kabako, which toured around the world, including more more more… future, a punk/ndombolo opera. Other collaborations include a duet with Raimund Hoghe (Sans-titre, 2009), a solo for the National Ballet of Portugal (2016) and a series of in-situ performances for museums, including the MOMA in 2012, the MUCEM in Marseille in 2016, the NYC Metropolitan Museum in 2017 and in 2018 the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren. Passionate about sound, Linyekula is also mixing music for albums and live concerts.

Linyekula received the Principal Prince Claus Award in 2007. The jury praised him ‘for his innovative activation of culture in the face of conflict, and for his energetic commitment to the development of his community.’ He came to the Holland Festival in 2012 with La creationdu monde (1923-2012), a creation for the Ballet de Lorraine based in Nancy. In 2017 The New York Times wrote: ‘There’s no walking away from Mr. Linyekula ... painful, brutal, livewire intensity.’ In 2014, he and his Studios Kabako were awarded first prize by the CurryStone Foundation for their work in Kisangani. He regularly teaches in Africa, the United States and Europe. The full year of 2016, Linyekula was associate artist to the city of Lisbon as part of the Artista na Cidade Biennale.

Since September 2018 and for three years, he is associate artist to the Manège in Reims.

In 2018, he was recipient of the first Soros Arts Fellowship. Faustin Linyekula is one of the Holland Festival’s two associate artists this year.



artistic direction
Faustin Linyekula
Eric Vuillard
Daddy Moanda Kamono, Faustin Linyekula, Pasco Losanganya
Franck Moka, Faustin Linyekula
Koceila Aouabed
Ignace Yenga
Théâtre de la Ville / Festival d’Automne – Paris, Le Manège, Scène Nationale de Reims, HAU Hebbel am Ufer – Berlin, Ruhrtriennale, Vidy-Lausanne Theatre, Holland Festival – Amsterdam
Studios Kabako, Virginie Dupray
with support from
the Centre National de la Danse – Pantin, Centre Dramatique National de Normandie-Rouen, KVS Brussels

This performance was made possible with support by