Galerie Pascal Polar presents the exhibition “Quel avenir pour notre art?” with paintings of the Congoles artist Chéri Samba from 1989 – 2009.
Samba’s paintings of this period reveal his perception of the social, political, economic and cultural realities of Zaïre, exposing all facets of everyday life in Kinshasa. His canvases offer a running commentary on popular customs, sexuality, AIDS and other illnesses, social inequalities, and corruption. From the late 1980s on, he himself became the main subject of his paintings. For Samba, this is not an act of narcissism; rather, like an anchor on TV news broadcasts, he places himself in his work to report on what it means to be a successful African artist on the world stage.
Chéri Samba or Samba wa Mbimba N?zingo Nuni Masi Ndo Mbasi (born December 30, 1956 in Kinto M?Vuila) is a painter from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1972, at the age of 16, he left the village and the school to find work as a sign painter in the capital Kinshasa. In 1975 he opened his own studio. At the same time he also became an illustrator for the entertainment magazine Bilenge Info. It is at this time when he develops his signature style of combining paintings with text. His work earns him some local fame. His breakthrough was the exhibition Les Magiciens de la Terre (curator : Jean-Hubert Martin) at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1989, which made him known internationally. Followed the Pompidou Center (Africa Remix), Fondation Cartier, Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, The Venice Biennale, Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Provincial Museum Voor Moderne Kunst in Ostende. He lives and works in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.