A co-op of Congolese workers disrupt the established flow of wealth in the art world, establishing a gallery space and attempting to buy back the land confiscated from them by Unilever.
Visitors to the temples of modern art in global cities will be familiar with the white cube gallery space. But when one arises in the middle of a Congolese palm oil plantation, the effect is deeply disorienting.
In the provocative new film by Dutch artist Renzo Martens (Enjoy Poverty), a co-op of Congolese workers disrupt the established flow of wealth in the art world, which usually heads in one direction only. Former workers at the plantation make sculptures that are reproduced in chocolate, and then exhibited in New York. The plantation workers, most of whom earn a dollar or less a day, use the profits from this successful exhibition to buy back the land confiscated from them by Unilever.
This unorthodox plan to jump-start the local economy also serves to highlight the ties between colonialism and the art world, not least through the multinationals that now proudly sponsor these Western museums.