Boomo Bialé & The Walés is the signature name of an artistic collaboration between French photographer and humanist Patrick Willocq and several young Congolese first-time mothers, dancers and singers, a.k.a The Walés, identifying as Ekonda Batwa, an indigenous people of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Patrick grew up in DRC. He feels ‘black with a white skin’. Since 2009, he spends various trips up to three months at a stretch, deep in the African jungle, immersed within Ekonda territory, to learn about their fascinating rituals and ways of life.The naïve mise en scene images, co-created with the Walés, of the various series that form part of the body of work Songs of the Walés (2013-2016), an internationally acclaimed and exhibited photography project, revealed the rising of new ethnographic subjectivity that operates from the realm of participatory artistic production.
Feeling deeply accepted and flattered by the title of Boomo Bialé (the husband of the Walés) conferred upon him by the community, a synergistic relationship between him and Walés emerged, rooted deep in respect, trust and a shared lived experience of Ubuntu, the African philosophy which affirms that we have to be touched by another human being to be real, that humanity is a quality we owe to each other.
I BeKoZ YoU, a story told in three acts, is their latest brainchild, four years in the making.
Patrick Willocq works have been exhibited at various international art fairs and museums, including Paris Photo, Photo London, Art Miami, Museum of Photography of Charleroi. Nominated, finalists or winners of prestigious international prizes including Rencontres d’Arles DA, Prix HSBC, Sony WPA and Leica OBA, they have also been featured in numerous TV broadcasts and publications. Patrick is represented by the galleries Project 2.0 in the Netherlands and Vision Quest in Italy. He is co-author of a 52-minute documentary film, Le Chant des Walés, broadcast on the television channel France 5.