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Chéri Samba

Artist 235 Chéri Samba Painting

Chéri Samba or Samba wa Mbimba N’zingo Nuni Masi Ndo Mbasi (born 1956) is a painter from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 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.

C 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.” Samba's pieces aims to emphasize poverty, stupidity about his culture, corruption, and chaos in his work. Samba says, “I appeal to people’s consciences…I paint reality even if it’s shocking, I put humor and color into it to attract people. In his piece, J'aime la couleur piece goes into race and self identity".

It explains how Samba believes that experience and process of sustaining and recreating a common identity across the African diaspora will show how to strengthen a community. He usually paints himself at the center of his visual social commentaries. On his work: "When I paint, my main concerns are to represent things as they are, to communicate with humor, to ask relevant questions and to tell the truth. I consider myself a sort of painter-journalist. My source of inspiration is daily life. I always have suitcases full of ideas. As long as the world is the world, and writers have stories to tell, I will have something to say."

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