Yamukumba "Frank" Mbayo

Yamukumba "Franc" Mbayo describes photography as memory, "memory is photographic, it can be said that photographic images do not destroy personal memories". Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yamukumba Mbayo has been photographing the intimate relationship between Congolese nature and Congelese society since he was a teenager. His artistic process as a Photographer was shaped by his life experiences both growing up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and as a refugee in Zimbabwe and Lexington, Kentucky. This unique insight into life in multiple countries, cultures, societies, and lifestyles, has given him an appreciation for cultural sensitivities and perspectives. Yamukumba's photography captures a sense of realism in which the image of each character or scene tells their story of identity, environment, and history. 

Yamukumba resettled to Lexington, Kentucky from Zimbabwe in 2006. He is currently collaborating with other African Artists of various mediums, who are also living in the Midwest. Photographing refugees in the Midwest, has always been something Yamukumba has done both as a passion and commercially. His photography is a study of identity, homeland, and memory. His commercial work has covered West African funerals, celebration ceremonies, cultural ceremonies. 

In December of 2019 Yamukumba visited his native country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to photograph multiple series on his homeland, nature, local artists, and society's structures. His photographic series "Birds of Kinshasa" depicts a story of a finding freedom through our abilities within the confinement of social structures and ideologies. This series is his debut photographic series as a Legacy West Media Artist. 

Yamukumba has always used his story and abilities to help those who are going through the relocation process as refugees. He cofounded with his mother Dreams of My Homeland, a nonprofit organization that strives to address the needs of resettled refugees in Lexington, KY and to support primary and secondary education of students in Kinsevere, Lubumbashi, DRC. Since 2017, he has worked with Bluegrass Community & Technical College in various efforts to improve access to education for refugee and immigrant communities in Kentucky. Through his life experiences his understanding is that arts and sports are vehicles for change, Yamukumba also co-founded both the Lexington Congolese Futball Group and Dreams of My homeland. The Lexington Congolese Football Group is a local grass-root organization that addresses mental, physical, & social wellbeing through physical activity, with the goal to provide more opportunities for physical activity. A percentage of his Artwork sales help fund Dreams of My Homeland's organization, teacher pay, and student scholarships in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

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