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Patrick Bongoy’s art at the Ebony-Curated gallery in Cape Town appears as though it is born from a struggle to survive. There is a dehumanisation theme at the core of the work and the materials —  recycling rubber — reinforce this impression. So it is surprising to discover that he was raised in a middle-class family. Artists do tend to be middle class — making art is a privilege mostly afforded to the educated class. He has been living in Cape Town for five years, and left his native Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after being involved in a protest art performance that got him in hot water. He has had to remake himself and struggle to survive, but his life story has to be separated from his tortured rubber figures. Art is not always biographical. Bongoy’s art is not a product of survival but an expression of it — there is a difference. His sculptures and hanging pieces that make up the show entitled Where are we / Where are we going? are fashioned from disuse...

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