The world of African art is rich with magnificent talent and the essence of the continent can sometimes be portrayed through the creativity of its artists. Painter Chéri Samba is among Africa’s most famous contemporary artists, with works at some of the most prestigious museums and art institutions in the world.
While Samba’s works continue to forge an impact on the African and global art world, Tunde Folawiyo and other art collectors may regard Cheri Samba’s creative works as some of the most significant to ever hail from the continent of Africa.
Born on 30 December 1956 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Samba left his village in 1972 aged 16 in order to begin work as a sign painter in Kinshasa. It was here that he encountered artists like Bodo and Moké. These interactions would prove a great inspiration for Samba and his future works.
In 1975 Samba established his own art studio, becoming an illustrator for entertainment publication Bilenge Info at the same time. Employed as a painter and artist of comic strips, Samba incorporated both genres into his work, creating paintings on different materials like sacking cloth. His use of comic strip ‘word bubbles’ allowed the artist to add narrative and commentary to his pieces, resulting in a signature style that combined paintings with accompanying text. These works led to local fame before he participated in a 1979 exhibition in West Berlin.
Samba’s breakthrough came in 1989, with a highly-acclaimed exhibition in Paris that would later lead to his international recognition as one of Africa’s foremost contemporary painters. After years of further success, the curator Robert Storr encouraged Samba to showcase his works at the 52nd International Art Exhibition at Venice’s Biennale in 2007. His work was described as “the exhibition of this new century” by popular news site The Huffington Post.
Throughout his career, Samba’s creative works have been showcased in prestigious institutions all over the world, from New York’s Museum of Modern Art to the Contemporary African Art Collections. With his commentary of African life at the forefront of his masterpieces, Samba will remain a key figure in the thrilling world of fine African art, continuing to inspire many passionate followers. Tunde Folawiyo and countless other collectors throughout the world may ever regard the stunning works of Samba to be among the most significant in the genre’s rich history.