September 3 2019

The success story of former démART–Mtl intern Moridja


Moridja: Former démART–Mtl intern recounts his path to becoming a visual artist


The démART-Mtl program offers culturally diverse artist-interns the opportunity to become immersed in Montreal’s arts scene and develop their talents under the guidance of veteran professionals. With the internships being paid, the artists can devote all their time to practising their art and improving their administrative skills. Moridja Kitenge Banza, former intern of the program, tells us about his career.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Moridja Kitenge Banza studied at the Kinshasa Academy of Fine Arts before relocating to France, where he obtained a Master’s from the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Nantes Métropole, followed by a Master’s in urban cultural development and policy from the Université de la Rochelle. 

On the strength of his first professional experience with the Festival des 3 Continents in Nantes, Moridja interned as cultural director for the city of Nantes. “That’s when I understood how important culture is in the development of a community and for the wellbeing of people living in a city,” Moridja explains.

Shortly after he came to Montreal in 2011, a friend told him about the Conseil des arts de Montréal. “I met with Iulia Salagor (Project Manager for Cultural Diversity in the Arts at the Conseil),” says Moridja, “who told me about démART–Mtl. Right away I applied for an internship with articule”, an open-access artist-run centre dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art practices.

Moridja was accepted for the internship and set down roots in Montreal’s cultural ecosystem. “démART–Mtl helped launch my career as a visual artist and cultural worker in Montreal,” he notes.                           

It was through démART–Mtl that Moridja forged ties with his “first gallery”, Joyce Yahouda. He showed his works with her in 2015, and was soon exhibiting at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. A collector who purchased one of his works introduced him to the owner of his next gallery, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau.

It wasn’t long before Moridja had made a name for himself as a Montreal-based visual artist. Through his association with articule, he participated in Montréal monochrome, a panel discussion looking into the lack of diversity in Montreal’s cultural institutions. That put him in touch with the RAAV (Quebec association for visual artists), and in 2015 he was made Chair of the RAAV Board. A true success story!

Moridja now has high praise for démART–Mtl and the internship he secured. “démART–Mtl allowed me to gradually plant seeds here and there, and today I’m reaping the fruits of the seeds I sowed.”

More recently, Moridja accepted an invitation from the British Council to give a presentation on démART–Mtl at the Cripping the Arts symposium in Toronto, along with Julien Valmary, the Conseil’s Director of Grant Programs and Strategic Initiatives. 

“It’s important for me to tell everyone about the benefits of the démART–Mtl program, which I think should be adapted across Canada. I’d really like to be recognized as a visual artist across Canada, not just in Montreal!”

AND with an enthusiastic flourish, Moridja concludes:

“But démART–Mtl works both ways. First you have to know what your goal is and then you have to do everything you can to achieve it!”


Moridja Kitenge Banza


If you’re interested in an internship, you too could participate in démART–Mtl.

You have until October 4, 2019 to apply. Established in 2012, the démART-Mtl program gives artists and cultural workers real-life experience working in the Montreal arts scene. These paid internships facilitate the professional integration of culturally diverse artists and workers while allowing them to actively participate in the host organization’s development. Everyone’s a winner!


Work |
Chiromancie#9 n°2
122 x 92 cm
Ink on mylar
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Hugues Charbonneau