Kinshasa ~ Democratic Republic of the Congo
Chéri Samba (Congo, 1956) Chéri Samba is an accomplished and talented exponent of a unique genre of popular painting, traditional in the Congo (Zaire), which encompasses humour, social commentary and political satire. Visually inventive, with striking colours and elements of exaggeration, Samba’s work combines aspects of advertising, cinema, popular culture, incisive details and witty captions. His challenging pictorial statements are distinctive within the tradition of popular painting due to his clever social analysis, skill and use of innovative techniques. He deals with daily lives, the problems, pleasures and paradoxes of cultures undergoing rapid change, as well as the impact of international events on societies in Africa. Believing that the artist must make people think and must appeal to people’s consciences, Samba’s paintings are always accessible and popular with the general public. His work has received international acclaim and he is a leading figure in the local cultural scene in Kinshasa, where he chairs the Union of Artists and encourages and nurtures a new generation of painters. This Award honours Chéri Samba as an outstanding visual artist, whose social commentary and humour stimulate both local and international audiences.