Faustin Linyekula is a dancer and choreographer, lives and works in Kisangani, in the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, former Zaire, former Belgian Congo, former independent state of Congo...After eight years abroad, Linyekula returned to his native Congo in 2001 with a renewed desire to create art there. In the capital city of Kinshasa, he established the Studios Kabako, a company and art center dedicated to contemporary dance and visual theater. Studios Kabako aims to both address artistic and aesthetic issues and foster professional skills through research, creation and circulation. It provides training opportunities for artists, management and technical staff with a focus on nurturing artists to explore new ideas and collaborations both at home and abroad. Memory, forgetting, and the suppression of memory are central to his works, addressing the legacy of decades of war, terror, fear and the collapse of the Congolese economy for himself, his family and his friends. With Studios Kabako, Linyekula has presented several works: Spectacularly Empty (2001), Triptyque sans titre (2002), Spectacularly Empty II (2003), Radio Okapi (2004), Le Festival des Mensonges / Festival of Lies (2005), The Dialogue Series: i. Franco (2006) and The Dialogue Series: iii. Dinozord (2006) and conducted various international projects and collaborations with artists from France, Morocco, Ethiopia and Sweden and South Africa. Partnerships have also been established with institutions including: Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (Strasbourg, France); Collectif 12 (Mantes-La-Jolie, France); Centre National de la Danse (Paris, France); KAAY FECC dance festival (Dakar, Senegal); and GAARA Dance Company (Nairobi, Kenya).
In summer-fall 2005, Linyekula and Studios Kabako were invited to the U.S. by MAPP and The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium for creative residencies and performances, which marked the company’s North American debut. Creative residencies were held at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, Bates Dance Festival and the University of Florida’s Center for World Arts. Performances of Triptyque sans titre were presented at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Portland Institute of Contemporary Arts and University of Florida in partnership with Center for World Arts. Recognized as a leading African choreographer, Faustin Linyekula has been a judge in the 2004 Rencontres Choreographiques Africaines in Madagascar and a facilitator for International Dialogues at the Kaay Fecc Festival in Senegal. In June 2005, Linyekula curated a series of Contemporary African Dance, Le Cargo, at the Centre National de la Danse in Paris. Linyekula has been commissioned to create work for the Avignon Festival, Theatre de Suresnes in Paris, the Tanzwochen Festival in Austria and by Peter Sellars of the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. Festival of Lies and The Dialogue Series: iii. Dinozord were both performed at the 2007 Avignon Festival. In 2007-08, he worked on the staging of La Fratrie errante, a text by Marie-Louise Bibish Mumbu. In 2009, he introduced his own version of Jean Racine’s Bérénice commissioned by the Comédie-Française and the Gennevilliers Theater / Paris (March-June). Linyekula is also currently performing Sans-titre, a duet by and with Raimund Hoghe. His most recent performance Pour en finir avec Bérénice was presented at the Festival d’Avignon 2010. In addition Linyekula continues to teach in Africa, Europe and the United States. In 2006-07, he was part of a think tank with other African artists and intellectuals around the creation of an arts centre near Cape Town. In December 2007, he received the Principal Award of the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development. Since 2006, Faustin has moved his activities to Kisangani and is now working on the development of a series of neighborhood cultural centres around performing arts and image in the city.