“CONGO” is a solo exhibition featuring new works from British artist Jonathan Darby. “CONGO” will feature a collection of mixed media paintings on wood as part of a gallery-transforming installation and a portion of the proceeds will go directly to children’s charity AptART. The opening reception was on Saturday, November 10th. Exhibition is open to the public for viewing through December 8th, 2012. Don’t miss the teaser…

Darby will transform the conventional white walls and gallery space into an incredible floor to ceiling installation of painting, sound, photography and film. The show is a response to Darby’s recent work in the war torn eastern city of Goma where he directed painting projects along with children’s charity, AptART, of which he is the co-founder and Creative Director. Each piece of art features a child from the project and incorporates elements of Darby’s own photography.


SLIDESHOW: work in progress

“I will continue to work with distressed materials, repeatedly reworking the mediums to achieve the desired textures and effects. Symbolism and relevant imagery will be incorporated into the paintings and will set the backdrop for the portraits of these children. Expect to see a dramatic progression from the Favela installations that took place in London and in San Francisco, but this time the representation is of the DR Congo.” Jonathan Darby

The Democratic Republic of Congo, formally Zaire, has immense economic resources but has been crippled by one of the worst humanitarian crises in the modern era. The conflict has been termed “Africa’s World War” involving seven neighboring nations and claiming more than five million lives, the highest number in any conflict since World War II. Eastern Congo currently hosts the world’s largest United Nations Peace keeping mission. However, the violence is so endemic that not a single generation alive today has ever known peace. Despite the severity of the situation, DR Congo is rarely featured in headline news. Rapes and killings have continued for so long that they have become commonplace.

The scale of the problem makes it appear hopeless and the world has stopped paying attention. The future of this apparently hopeless situation is the children. To revive exposure for this tragedy and perhaps provide some hope for its future, Darby literally plunged himself into the humanitarian trauma, working directing with street kids, orphans and former child soldiers. He continues to take on the decidedly difficult task of combining socio-political subject matter with a genuine sense of beauty and honesty. The pieces depict bright-eyed children engulfed by the entropy of their environments while harsh texts and graphics tell a narrative of life in conflict.


SLIDESHOW: impressions from the CONGO and the AptART project

About the artist:
Jonathan Darby is a London-based artist working in painting, photography, film and installation. He splits his time between the UK and directing children’s painting projects internationally. He has worked with children’s charities from Brazil, Mozambique, The Democratic Republic of Congo and The UK. In 2010 with the aim of empowering youth through the arts he co-founded AptART.

Exhibition from November 10th through December 8th, 2012
@ White Walls, 835 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

To support the Awareness Prevention Through Art / AptArt projects you can make a donation here:

photography: Jonathan Darby | text: White Walls Gallery