Moder African art - Cheri Samba

Added 2020-04-29 in by Łukasz Kuca

One of the most popular African artists representing modern art.


The egocentric western world is increasingly beginning to notice that art isn't only created in Europe and the United States. Works of artists from the Far or Middle East, Australia, South America or Africa gain value. Local artists draw from their own traditional motifs and ethos, which are noticeably different from those native and well known to us, which makes them appear mysterious and appealing. The growing popularity of this art can negatively affect its originality, by subjecting it to known market mechanisms. What can save her from this is the dissemination of knowledge and awareness about her.

Cheri Samba was born in 1956 in Kinto M'Vuila (Democratic Republic of the Congo). His father was a blacksmith and his mother was engaged in agriculture. At the age of 16 he left the village, dropped out of school and went to the capital - Kinshasa, where he began to work as a painter. There he met other artists such as Moké and Bodo, with whom (and with his younger brother Cheik Ledy), he created an artistic movement in the city that had been united by modern art.                                  

In 1975, Samba founded his studio and became an illustrator in the entertainment magazine "Bilenge Info". He worked as a billboard painter and comic book artist, which apparently shaped his work. His works brought him local fame, and soon the artist's recognition stopped being restricted  by the city walls He gained international fame thanks to the recognition he received from the Parisian curator and art dealer André Magnin, who was looking for interesting artists to take part in the exhibition ,,Magiciens de la Terre" and met Samba in the Congo capital. Cheri made a huge impression in Paris and was proclaimed the most important painter from the Congo. Despite his world renown, he returned to Kinshasa - the source of his inspiration and from there he still creates his works.

"I appeal to human consciences ... I paint reality, even if it is shocking, I put humor and color in it to attract people." ~ Cheri Samba

The main subject of the artist's works refers to social, economic, political and cultural issues as well as everyday life of Kinshasa. He tackles the issues of tradition, AIDS, sexuality etc. He often places himself in his paintings to use the popularity of his image to publicize the messages he contains in his work.

Modern African art is an amazing creation that cannot be, but must be discovered. That is why I heartily recommend fascinating three video materials in which Cheri Samba talks about his history and work:

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