By John Dunne
Newly arrived to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ambassador Mike Hammer and his wife Margret invited the embassy community to their residence for an exhibit featuring the art of Mission Kinshasa’s children last November. “We loved participating in the Art-in-Embassies program when we served in Chile, but it usually takes several months for the collection to arrive,” said Hammer. “In the meantime, we wanted to bring the Chief of Mission Residence [CMR] to life, and what better way than to have our mission’s kids provide art.”
The community liaison officer (CLO) put out a call for art under the theme “My America, My Congo.” More than 70 children, ages 3 to 19, submitted pieces with a variety of designs and styles. The artwork ranged from images of the two countries’ flags to elaborate works conveying a message of friendship between the Congolese and the American people. The children’s artwork shows their perspectives on the fascinating aspects of the DRC, such as its diversity of cultures, languages and natural beauty. Armed with plenty of adhesive putty to mount participants’ artwork on CMR walls, Margret and the CLO prepared for the grand opening. On the day of the event, the mission’s families enjoyed a festival-like atmosphere on the front lawn before entering the CMR for the exhibit’s inauguration. Not only was it a day to celebrate the artwork of embassy children, but it was also an opportunity for embassy staff members, who had recently worked on renovating the CMR, to see the results of their hard work.
John Dunne is the information officer in the Public Affairs Section of Embassy Kinshasa.