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Museum de Fundatie has acquired six works from the 6 Congo Tales series by Pieter Henket (b. 1979). Three were donated and the other three have been purchased with the kind assistance of the BankGiro Loterij. The works in question are the entire ‘The Murder of the Elders’ series and The River from ‘The Story of the Little Fish and the Crocodile’. Combined with the earlier The Faces series of 2011 and 16 portraits of models, De Fundatie’s collection now includes an important group of work by Henket.

De foto’s van groot formaat ‘The Murder of the Elders’ gaan over het conflict tussen generaties. In een machtstrijd tussen de aanstormende jeugd en de oude machthebbers in het dorp vermoorden de zonen hun vaders. Eén zoon houdt zoveel van zijn vader en verbergt hem. Als twee maanden later een jonge vrouw haar baby bijna ziet sterven door een wurgslang redt de enig overgebleven vader de situatie, wat hem tot dorpshoofd maakt en de generaties verzoend en inzicht geeft in elkaars kwaliteiten. ‘The Story of the Little Fish and the Crocodile’ gaat over de wetten van de natuur die iedereen moet gehoorzamen. Want hoe vriendelijk de krokodil ook omgaat met de vis tijdens een vriendschapsdiner, in de nacht erna eet de krokodil alle eitjes van de vis op.

The large-format photographs in ‘The Murder of the Elders’ are about intergenerational conflict. In a power struggle between insurgent youngsters and elders in a village, the sons set about murdering their fathers. One son loves his father so much that he hides him. When, two months later, a young woman sees the only remaining father rescue her baby from strangulation by a snake, he is made village elder. The generations are reconciled and acknowledge each other’s qualities. ‘The Story of the Little Fish and the Crocodile’ is about the laws of nature, which we must all obey. However kind the crocodile is towards the fish during a friendly dinner, it still eats all the fish’s eggs during the night.

The photographs are part of an exhibition called Congo Tales, which is on display at Museum de Fundatie until 5 January 2020. Congo Tales tells the stories and myths of the people of the Congo basin, the second largest tropical rainforest in the world, after the Amazon. The Tales of Us organisation worked on the project there for five years. At the invitation of the project’s initiators, producers Eva Vonk and Stefanie Plattner, Pieter Henket created this large series of photographs in collaboration with the local population. Henket’s filmic and surrealistic portraits bring to life the magic and mystery of this virtually unknown place, which is so vital to the planet.

The Rijksmuseum also has six photographs from Congo Tales in its collection.

Left to right The Last FatherThe Youngest OneThe Trick of WisdomThe Good Son and Father Bosco, from the ‘The Murder of the Elders’ series, Congo Tales, 2017 © Pieter Henket, courtesy of Kahmann Gallery. Produced by Tales of Us.

The River, from the ‘The Story of the Little Fish and the Crocodile’ series, Congo Tales, 2017. © Pieter Henket, courtesy of Kahmann Gallery. Produced by Tales of Us.