ALFRED LIYOLO Limbe M’Puanga was born in Bolobo, on May 30, 1943 in the current Democratic Republic of Congo. He passed away in Vienna, Austria, on April 1, 2019.
ALFRED LIYOLO was a sculptor like others were great travelers. But he didn’t travel from place to place, from sea to sea; he bent towards the metal to reach it, mold it, transform it.
He was an African in each of his sculptures. Yet, his defining lines were vastly influenced by the training he received at the Art Academy of Vienna, Austria where he studied. Grand Prix 1969 of the “Classe des Maitres” run by Professor Wander Bertoni, LIYOLO spent his nearly 60 year’s career teaching sculpting techniques and introduced bronze in its modern form as an artistic working material, in the DRC. He has trained countless generations of Congolese and international artists at the Art Academy of Kinshasa and at his private Atelier in Mont Ngafula, Kinshasa.
As General Director of the Art Academy of Kinshasa, from 1981 to 1991, Liyolo allowed women to enroll at the Academy; he brought the Academy to an international level and recruited several international teachers to further students’ learning. His time at the Academy can be considered as the modernizing phase of this national institution. He has exhibited around the world, from Dakar to Washington, from Beijing to Monaco. His work can be found in some of the world’s most private palaces, China’s exhibition gardens and more. He is the only African artist to have met and been received by the emperor of Japan (Akihito) and to be granted the special medal of honor by the Chinese government for his contribution to cultural exchange with China.
Between 1973 and 2002, Alfred Liyolo exhibited at the most prestigious and well-known events and demonstrations in the world, including Paris (Louvre), Nice, Monte-Carlo, Tokyo, Seville (1992 world exhibition), New York ( Art expo 93), Vienna, Lisbon (Exposition Universelle 1998), Beijing, Brussels (2002), Dakar (Senegal). Recent creations include: The 4.50-meter-tall "Lumumba" monument in the Prime Minister's Garden in Kinshasa and the alley of Kinshasa Governors and Prime Ministers of the Congo.
Homage to Franco on the Place des Artistes in Matonge. Without forgetting the Wait and the Leopards of Rawbank. Master Liyolo's works never leave you indifferent. Liyolo is an inspirer; he shapes matter and metal into living reality. Its originality lies in the both traditional and contemporary character of its art with sculptures sometimes realistic sometimes with a pure and tapered style, some in large format. He is one with bronze and his love for this material shows through in his works.
Liyolo is also a knowledge transmitted to several generations of young students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kinshasa. Liyolo is one of the most innovative and copied Congolese artists in Central Africa..
Liyolo’s life can be summed up in the preface to a book about him, which Monsignor Tshibangu Tshisiku wrote "I believe I found in Liyolo, that inner power that underlies a work dedicated to a noble cause. His sculpture, whose tapered shape recalls certain traditional works from his region of origin, succeeds in speaking to his interlocutors in the language of today. The simplicity of his style, the softness of the movements and the elegance of the forms translate the deep feeling of the artist in front of the beauty, but a deep beauty, rooted in the heart and delighted by the intellect "