Sindika Dokolo

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Sindika Dokolo
Sindika Dokolo.jpg
Sindika Dokolo in Venice, in July 2007
Born (1972-03-16) 16 March 1972 (age 46)
Kinshasa, Zaire
Nationality Congolese
Occupation Art collector, businessman
Spouse(s) Isabel dos Santos (m. 2002)

Sindika Dokolo (born (1972-03-16)16 March 1972)[1] is a Congolese art collector and businessman. He owns one of the most important contemporary African art collections, which includes more than 3,000 pieces.[2]

Family and education[edit]

Born in Kinshasa in 1972, he was brought up in Belgium and France by his parents: Augustin Dokolo, a bank owner, millionaire and collector of African arts,[3] and his Danish wife Hanne Kruse.[4] He attended the Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague in Paris from which he graduated; later he studied economics, commerce and foreign languages at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris.[5]

In 2002, he married Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of José Eduardo dos Santos, former President of Angola.[6]

Promoting African arts[edit]

Through his father's initiative, he started an arts collection at the age of 15. During an interview to Angolan TV network TPA, Sindika Dokolo said his parents already very much liked art: his mother took him to visit all the museums in Europe and his father was a great collector of classical African art.[7] In 1995, he decided to return to Zaire to join the large family business – in total 17 companies (banking, breeding, fishing, coffee exportation, real estate, consumer goods distributor, merchandise conveyance, printing, insurance, mining and car selling).[8] The country collapsed and their activity couldn't survive. Later, these family businesses were nationalized by the Government of Zaire in 1986 under President Mobutu Sese Seko.[3]

Paintings on a public streetmarket in Angola

Later he started the Sindika Dokolo Foundation[1] in order to promote numerous arts and culture festivals at home and abroad. Its mission is to create a center for contemporary art in Luanda, in the display, and not only pieces of contemporary African art, but also to create the conditions and activities which are necessary to integrate African artists in the international circles of the art world.[9] Dokolo states that his connection to the arts is not intended to be recognized as a great collector, but rather "to present African artists to the world".[10] The Foundation follows the principle of borrowing freely its pieces to any international museum as long as that museum presents the same exhibit in an African country.[11]

Sindika Dokolo started expositions like the SD Observatorio (July 2006 – August 2006) at the Valencia Institute of Modern Art, the Trienal de Luanda (December 2006 – March 2007), or the Check List Luanda Pop (June 2007 – November 2007) at the 52nd Venice Biennale. When the German collector Hans Bogatzke died, the curator Fernando Alvim suggested to Sindika Dokolo that he buy the 500 piece collection. The collection was secured for a low price because Hans Bogatzke's widow, despite loving her husband, didn't want the responsibility and was pleased knowing it would be shown in Africa.[12] On 25 January 2010, he organized a huge exposition for Luanda's 434th anniversary called Luanda Suave e Frenética, with many artists reflecting in various ways about a "vibrant and smooth" city.[13]

In December 2013, Dokolo attended the opening of the VII Biennial of São Tomé and Príncipe, international art exhibition in the country, where the art works of Sindika Dokolo Foundation are exposed.[14] In an interview with Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Negócios, the art collector talked about his collection, arguing that "the added value of contemporary African art scene is to give a sensible and intelligent perspective of a continent that is constantly on the move," aspects that will, in his opinion, project the African continent in the future.[15]

Sindika Dokolo took part in the October 2014 1:54 contemporary African art, held in London with the participation of many well-known personalities, including Lupita Nyong'o.[16] At this event, a number of artists and celebrities, as the model Alek Wek or singer Keziah Jones, publicly expressed their support and appreciation for the work of the collector, highlighting the role that Sindika Dokolo Foundation has played in the development of contemporary African art. On the sidelines of this participation, Sindika Dokolo told New African[17] about his projects for Angola and how "contemporary African art should be accessible to African and impact their lives."[18]

On March 2015, Sindika Dokolo was awarded with Medal of Merit by the city of Oporto, with regard to the contemporary art exhibition You Love Me, You Love Me Not.[19][20] This honor is the city recognition of the contribution of Sindika Dokolo, which allowed the city of Oporto to develop one of the most relevant projects within the contemporary art of today, helping to establish a "natural bridge" between the city and the world.[21] The exhibition features works from the art collector's collection and brings together fifty artists (not all Africans).[22][11] This is the most important exhibition of the collection of Sindika Dokolo Foundation ever achieved and it is considered the largest existing African art collection.[23][24]

In January 2016, the Sindika Dokolo Foundation strengthened its ties with Portugal[25] by choosing Oporto to house its European headquarters.[26] Located on Casa Manoel de Oliveira building, the new headquarters will become a place to "promote artistic thinking networks and strengthen ties between Portugal and Angola, as well as Europe and Africa, celebrating art as an unifying element for people and nations," said Dokolo.[27][28]

Sindika Dokolo has launched a worldwide campaign to force Western museums, art dealers and auction houses to return Africa's art. "Works that used to be clearly in African museums must absolutely return to Africa," said Dokolo.[29][30] In addition to collecting works of art, the collector is dedicated to "recovering the stolen pieces during the colonial era", a mission accomplished with the help of an international team.[31][32]

In an interview with Jeune Afrique magazine, Sindika Dokolo revealed that he has the ambition to "build the most beautiful collection of classical art in the world". The art collector also believes that "the great challenge of contemporary African art is to be able to establish the connection and assume the role of depositary of this exceptional phenomenon that was classic [African] art. Not only for what was produced, but also for the place of art in society, and that is how we define artists and works, how we live art."[31][32][33]


Living in Luanda since 1999, Sindika Dokolo is a businessman and the president of Sindika Dokolo Foundation.[1]

He is member of the board of the Angolan cement company Nova Cimangola.[34] Sindika Dokolo is also member of the board of Amorim Energia that owns a third of Portuguese petrol company Galp through the company Esperanza Holding BV.[35]

The art collector has also invested in various sectors, including diamonds, oil, real estate and telecommunications, in Angola, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Mozambique. In an interview with Jeune Afrique, he also stated that his aim is not "to build a large integrated group", but rather to have the opportunity to see "Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo as a complementary complement" - "a Luanda-Kinshasa axis that could create a counterweight to South African supremacy".[32]


  1. ^ a b c "Sindika Dokolo". Sindika Dokolo Foundation. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  2. ^ Nicholas Forrest (4 May 2015). "Sindika Dokolo on African Art and His Collection in Portugal". ArtInfo. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Biography – Augustin Dokolo, an African entrepreneur". The Dokolo Family. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "His Family – Hanne Dokolo". The Dokolo Family. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "His Family – Sindika Dokolo". The Dokolo Family. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Africa Top Success Awards: Vote for Isabel dos Santos". Africa Top Success. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  7. ^ Ana Marcela (24 July 2013). "Isabel dos Santos is "self-confidence, stability and ambition," says her husband" (in Portuguese). Dinheiro Vivo. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "His Companies – A strong entrepreneurial vision". Dokolo Family. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "The Foundation". Sindika Dokolo Foundation. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  10. ^ Agência Lusa (30 November 2013). "Angolan Collector invites São Tomé authorities for the next Biennale of Luanda" (in Portuguese). Sapo. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Luís Miguel Queirós and José Marmeleira (8 March 2015). ""In a continent like Africa, art is necessarily political"" (in Portuguese). Público. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 
  12. ^ Expresso (23 July 2013). "Sindika Dokolo promotes African art" (in Portuguese). Sapo Vídeos. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Francisco Pedro (24 January 2010). "Luanda Suave e Frenética of Sindika Dokolo Foundation" (in Portuguese). Jornal de Angola. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "VII International Biennial of Art and Culture of São Tomé and Príncipe opened to the public" (in Portuguese). Panapress. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  15. ^ Celso Filipe (3 December 2013). "Sindika Dokolo: "Reducing the image of Angola to corruption is a dishonest manipulation"" (in Portuguese). Jornal de Negócios. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  16. ^ Kate Thomas (19 October 2014). "Hollywood muse Lupita Nyong'o stuns in silk LBD as she leads the glamour at charity art dinner in London". Daily Mail. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "1:54 Forum: Sindika Dokolo in conversation with Osei Bonsu". New African Magazine. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "Sindika Dokolo Foundation highlighted in World's leading African Art Fair". Angola Monitor. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  19. ^ Nicolas Michel (5 March 2015). "Sindika Dokolo Foundation exhibits in Porto" (in French). Jeune Afrique. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  20. ^ Jomo Fortunato (9 March 2015). "Art collector awarded with merit medal" (in Portuguese). Jornal de Angola. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  21. ^ "Sindika Dokolo awarded with merit medal by Porto city council" (in Portuguese). Briefing Angola. 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  22. ^ Lina Santos (6 March 2015). ""It is an African collection of art, it is not an African art collection"" (in Portuguese). Diário de Notícias. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  23. ^ EFE (4 March 2015). "Porto will exhibit the greatest collection of contemporary African art" (in Spanish). El Confidential. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  24. ^ Mariana Pereira (23 February 2015). "Sindika Dokolo takes the largest collection of African art to Porto" (in Portuguese). Diário de Notícias. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  25. ^ "Sindika Dokolo Foundation Sindika creates hub for Europe in Porto" (in Portuguese). África Today. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  26. ^ Patrícia Carvalho (18 January 2016). "Manoel de Oliveira House will be the headquarters of Sindika Dokolo Foundation in Europe" (in Portuguese). Público. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  27. ^ Celso Filipe (18 January 2016). "Sindika Dokolo bought Manoel de Oliveira House" (in Portuguese). Jornal de Negócios. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  28. ^ "Sindika Dokolo bought Manoel de Oliveira House" (in Portuguese). Dinheiro Vivo. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  29. ^ Raphael Minder (9 July 2015). "Collector Fights for African Art". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  30. ^ "Sindika Dokolo returns stolen art to Angolan museum". Apollo Magazine. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  31. ^ a b "The confidences of Sindika Dokolo: "I do not see anyone more competent and capable than my wife to put Sonangol in order"" (in Portuguese). Novo Jornal. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  32. ^ a b c Pierre Boisselet (15 January 2017). "Sindika Dokolo: "In DR Congo it is essential to protect and apply the Constitution"" (in French). Jeune Afrique. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  33. ^ Celso Filipe (16 January 2017). "Sindika Dokolo: Isabel dos Santos is a "general on a battlefield"" (in Portuguese). Negócios. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  34. ^ Isabel Dalla (11 June 2015). "Sindika Dokolo: Angola can be a regional cement power country" (in Portuguese). Exame Angola. Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  35. ^ ""Reducing the image of Angola to corruption is a dishonest manipulation"". Briefing Angola. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 

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