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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Artists must make people think

The creative spirit of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently being celebrated in the exhibition Beauté Congo – 1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko presented at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris.

Taking as its point of departure the birth of modern painting in the Congo in the 1920s, this ambitious exhibition traces almost a century of the country’s artistic production. While specifically focusing on painting, it includes music, sculpture, photography, and comics, providing the public with the unique opportunity to discover the diverse and vibrant art scene of the region.

Among those whose work features in the exhibition are Bodo Pambu and Chéri Samba:

'Bodo Pambu was one of the founders and key proponents along with Moke and Chéri Samba of what has come to be known as the Zaïre school of popular painting. Their works state vigorously and candidly their belief in their capacity to create art that could change the course of history.

Camille-Pierre Bodo chose to paint anything and describe everything that he had seen and experienced. His works then successively became chronicles, pamphlets, manifestos, demands or advice. His objectives were not selfish: he was a popular painter. One of Bodo's main themes was the “Ndoki Zoba” (sorcery) and the aim of these paintings was to advise on abandoning the practice of sorcery.

He dealt with symbolic or fantasy subject matter, with a strange imagination that was fed by his dreams. “I express everything that happens to me, so that I am no longer focused on specifically African topics and can address myself to the entire world.” The titles of his works: River of Delights, Ignorance, or Love, the Source of Life, perfectly echo his beliefs and his aesthetic aims.'

'Chéri Samba was a founding member of the “Popular painting” school along with Pierre Bodo, his paintings exposing everyday life in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city, Kinshasa. His representative, often fantastical paintings incorporate graphic narrative and figures with text and word bubbles that address forefront social and political issues, including AIDS, social inequity, and corruption. Starting in the 1980s, Samba began to portray himself frequently and literally in his works, taking on a direct role as the reporter of his ideas and personal story. “I appeal to people’s consciences,” he says. “Artists must make people think.”' 

He concluded, 'I believe everyone in earth has a mission and I believe that God gave me the tools to paint and speak my messages through my paintings.'


Adorons L'Eternel - Yahveh Okumama.

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