Africa

The plantation that grows art

Published 9:18 PM ET, Thu March 5, 2015
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Democratic Republic of Congo Institute of Human Activities chocolate sculptureDemocratic Republic of Congo Institute of Human Activities chocolate sculpture
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Sculptures made in the DRC by the Institute of Human Activities are scanned, then 3D printed in chocolate and sold at art exhibitions in the West. Courtesy Renzo Martens
The Institute of Human Activities is an arts initiative in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Plantation workers create self-portraits out of clay that are later sold in galleries in the Europe. Courtesy Renzo Martens
Creative director Renzo Martens was inspired by urban theorist Richard Florida (pictured on screen), who has written about art's positive affect in poor areas. Courtesy Richard Martens
The current location is a secret. Martens doesn't want participants to get in trouble with their employer. Courtesy Renzo Martens
The original location for the Institute for Human Activities was on a former Unilever plantation. According to Martens, Unilever pays its workers around $240 annually. The multinational corporation also funds a successful art series at the Tate Modern in London. Courtesy Renzo Martens
The proceeds from the artwork return to the plantation workers, says Martens. Courtesy Renzo Martens
The chocolate sculptures sell for about $60 -- a 7,000 percent markup. Courtesy Renzo Martens