CHÉRI SAMBA: ARTISTE POPULAIRE.
By Nii B. Andrews.
He came to international attention as a formidable visionary master in 1989 at the exhibition Les Magiciens de la Terre held at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Samba has been a no holds barred commentator on the concrete reality of life in his native DRC, formerly Zaire.
And his comments resonate with relevance throughout most of Africa and beyond.
AIDS, sexuality, rampant corruption, insidious and invidious patronage have all been targets of his trenchant paint brush dipped in oil or acrylic.
He has not shied away from placing himself within his paintings – almost akin to a reporter or TV anchor providing commentary.
And with regularity, his paintings also carry text.
Samba lives and works in Kinshasa and is represented by the Pascal Polar gallery (Brussels, Belgium).
He is eagerly sought after by collectors and his work is also in well established museums with universal collections.
Since the 1980s he signs his work, “Chérie Samba: Artiste Populaire”.
Chéri Samba was born in 1956 in Kinto M’Vuila.
In 1972, at the age of 16 he left the village and school to find work as a sign painter in the capital Kinshasa, on Kasavubu Avenue in Kinshasa.
Together with a group of artist friends, they created one of the most vibrant schools of popular painting in the twentieth century.
After opening his own studio in 1975, he also became an illustrator for the entertainment magazine Bilenge Info.