The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection

Chéri Samba

Born 1956, Kinto M'Vuila, Belgian Congo

Lives and works in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

In 1972 Chéri Samba left school in order to apprentice himself to the sign painters on Kasa Vubu Avenue in Kinshasa; from this circle of artists (which included Moke, Bodo, and later Samba’s younger brother Cheik Ledy among others) arose one of the most vibrant schools of popular painting in the twentieth century. Working both as a billboard painter and a comic strip artist, Samba employed the conventions of both genres when he began making paintings on sacking cloth (canvas being too expensive) in 1975; most importantly, he borrowed from comic art the device of “word bubbles,” which allowed him to interject not only narrative but also commentary into his compositions. Samba has recalled how he came to use text in this paintings: “I had noticed that people in the street would walk by paintings, glance at them and keep going. I thought that if I added a bit of text, people would have to stop and take time to read it, to get more into the painting and admire it. That’s what I called the ‘Samba signature.’ From then on I put text in all my paintings.” In the early 1980s he began signing his paintings “Chéri Samba: Artiste Populaire.” Indeed, the popularity of his paintings soon went beyond Kinshasa’s city limits; by the mid 1980s his work was gaining an international audience.

Samba’s paintings of this period reveal his perception of the social, political, economic and cultural realities of Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), 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. Samba has explained, “My painting is concerned with people’s lives. I’m not interested in myths or beliefs. That’s not my goal. I want to change our mentality that keeps us isolated from the world. I appeal to people’s consciences. Artists must make people think.” 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: Stupéfaction - Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris (17 September - 23 October)

Chéri Samba, Corridor Gallery, Antwerpen, Belgium

Chéri Samba, Quel avenir pour notre art? – Painting 1989-2009 - Galerie Pascal Polar, Brussels, Belgium (06 Sep 2013 - 01 Feb 2014)

Chéri Samba - Corsoveneziatto Arte Contemporanea, Milano, Italy  (04 December 2007 – 31 January 2008)

Les débuts de Chéri Samba - Kunstverein- Braunschweig - Germany (5 March – 8 May)

J’aime Chéri Samba - A selection of paintings from the exhibition at the Fondation Cartier - Texas Southern University - Houston - USA (28 Jan – 8 May)

J’aime Chéri Samba - Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain - Paris – France
Interview of Chéri Samba at the Cartier Foundation

Chéri Samba moto na Tervuren, Musée Royal de l’Afrique, Tervuren – Belgium

Chéri Samba une fois encore à Kinshasa, Centre Culturel du Zoo, Kinshasa - République Démocratique du Congo

Ludwig Forum fur internationale Kunst, Aachen - Germany.

Cheri Samba. MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland.

Chéri Samba, Übersee Museum, Bremen, Germany

National Museum of Oceanian and Africain Arts, Paris - France.

Portikus Kunsthalle, Francfurt - Germany.

ICA -Institut of Contemporary Art, London- UK

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago - U.S.A.

Cheri Samba, le peintre populaire du Zaïre, Provinciaal Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Ostende - Belgium.

1990 - 1989
La grande exposition publique Cheri Samba, Kinshasa -Democratic Republic of Congo, formely Zaïre.

Chéri Samba, Centre Culturel Français, Lubumbashi, République Démocratique du Congo

Cultural French Center, Kinshasa -Democratic Republic of Congo, formely Zaïre.

1975 -1978
La Grande exposition publique Cheri Samba, Kinshasa -Democratic Republic of Congo, formely Zaïre.


Constellation - Galerie A-MAGNIN, Paris, France (21 January - 18 mars)

Bande-Annonce, La Collection Pigozzi à Cannes - Gare Maritime de Cannes, France (12 July - 21 August)

Alpha Crucis, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway (01.22 to 09.30 2020)

Congo Paintings, Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Vichy, France (05.03 to 10.31 2019)

Prête-moi ton rêve, Exposition panafricaine itinérante (June 2019-June2020)
Itinerary: Casablanca, Dakar, Abidjan, Lagos, Addis Abeba, Cape Town

Truth Tellers, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York City, USA

Africa Passions, Palais Cadaval, Evora, Portugal

Reading Walking. Louis Vuitton Travel Book, Pearl Art Museum, Shanghai, China

Quel Amour !?, MAC, Marseille, France

Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier. Les Initiés, un choix d’œuvres (1989 – 2009) dans la collection d’art africain contemporain de Jean Pigozzi. Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France (04/26/17 to 09/04/17)

Highlights, Collection of the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art at Museum of Art (SeMA), Korea

On aime l'art...!! Un choix d'Éric Mézil parmi les oeuvres de la Collection agnès b., Collection Lambert en Avignon, France

E-Mois, MACAAL, Marrakech, Morocco

Gaia à travers ses miroirs, Villa des Arts, Rabbat, Maroc (dans le cadre de l'évènement L'Afrique en Capitale)

Histoires congolaises, bibliothèque Robert-Desnos, Montreuil, France

AFRICA. Raccontare un mondo, PAC Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milano, Italy

Regarding Africa: Contemporary Art and Afro-Futurism, Art Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel

L'instance de la lettre, Au Médicis, Galerie Marguerite Milin, Paris, France

Congo Art Works. Popular Painting, Bozar, Brussels, Belgium

Essentiel Paysage, Al Maaden Art Gallery, Contemporary African Art Center, Marrakech, Morocco

Vivre !! La collection agnès b. au musée national de l'histoire de l'immigration, National Museum of the History of Immigration, Paris, France

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York, USA

Une brève histoire de l’avenir, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

Beauté Congo – 1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko, Fondation Cartier, Paris, France

Picasso in Contemporary Art, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany

FIAC OFFICIELLE, Grand Palais & Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design, Paris

Picasso Mania, Grand-Palais, Paris, France

1:54, Contemporary African Art Fair, London UK

1:54, Contemporary African Art Fair, New-York, USA

Art Genève, Switzerland

Luminós/C/ity.Ordinary Joy: From the Pigozzi Contemporary African Art Collection, Ethelbert Cooper, Gallery of African & African American Art, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Ici l’Afrique/Here Africa - L’Afrique contemporaine à travers le regard de ses artistes, Musée des Suisses dans le Monde, Château de Penthes, Pregny-Chambésy, Switzerland

Post-Picasso: Contemporary Reactions, Museu Picasso, Barcelona, Spain

Vivid Memories, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, France

African way, Chapelle de la Visitation, Thonon-les-bains, France

FIAC OFFICIELLE, Grand Palais & Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design, Paris

1:54 Foire d'art contemporain africain, London UK

Art Genève, Geneva, Switzerland

Raw Vision, 25 ans d'Art Brut, La Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, France

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, UK

Art Paris Art Fair, Paris, France

Peintres reporters de l’urbanité, à Kinshasa, Latitude 21, Dijon, France

Focus sur la collection, Musée de la Fondation Zinsou, Ouidah, Benin

Mehr Licht, Galerie Michel Rein, Paris, France

Afrovision, L’art moderne d’Afrique, Modern Art Museum, Bakou, Azerbaïdjan

Africa/Africa, Abbaye Saint-André, Centre d’art contemporain, Meymac, France


The Global Contemporary Art Worlds After 1989, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Germany

JAPANCONGO: Carsten Höllerʼs double-take on Jean Pigozziʼs collection, Le Magasin,Centre national d'Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France. The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia

Riad Al Maaden, MAGNIN-A, Marrakech, Maroc

Kinshasa Pop, Galerie Pangée, Montreal, Canada

African Stories

Marrakech Art Fair, Marrakech, Morroco

2009 - 2010

Africa? Una nuova storia

Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy


Against Exclusion, 3rd Moscow Biennial, The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia


Why Africa? Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin, Italy

Intrusions, Petit Palais Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, France

"Popular Painting" from Kinshasa, Tate Modern, (Room 10), London – UK

Venice Biennale, Italian Pavillon, Venice, Italy

Black Paris, Museum der Weltkulturen, Frankfurt, Germany

100% Africa, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

Collection de la Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, MOT, Tokyo, Japan

Arts of Africa, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, France

African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Houston, USA

2004/2006 (travelling exhibition)
Africa Remix, Art contemporain d’un continent:

  • Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf - Germany * 24 July 2004 – 7 Nov 2004
  • Hayward Gallery, London – England * 10 Feb 2005 – 17 April 2005
  • Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris – France * 15 May 2005 – 20 Aug 2005
  • Mori Art Museum, Tokyo * Feb – May 2006

Le Salon du Mai, Atheliers Berthier, Opera National de Paris, Paris, France

Peinture populaire congolaise, ADEIAO – Centre d’Etudes Africaines, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, France

Je m’installe aux abattoirs, La collection d’art contemporain d’agnès b., Les Abattoirs, Toulouse - France

Les Afriques, Tri Postal, Lille, France

Der Rest der Welt, Neuffer am Park Pirmasens, Germany

Kin Moto na Bruxelles, Hôtel de Ville, Brussels, Belgium

Sexuality and death, AIDS in Contemporary African Art, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne, Germany

2002 – 2003
Afrikanische Reklamekunst (L’art et la pub en Afrique), Iwalewa-Haus, Universität Bayreuth, Germany

Espace Croise "Kin Service", Contemporary Art Center. Roubaix, France.

Swiss National Exhibition - EXPO 02: "Money & Value", Lake of Biel, Switzerland.

Sao Paulo Biennal, Brazil

Sao-Paulo, Brazil

Kinshasa Congo. Fabien Rigobert / Moke, Chéri Samba, Espace Croisé, Centre d’art contemporain, Roubaix, France

Painting on the Move, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland


An/Sichten: Malerei aus dem Kongo 1990-2000, Museum für Volkerkunde, Vienna, Austria


Kustwelten im Dialog

Museum Ludwig

Cologne, Germany.


Africa Africa Vibrant New Art from a Dynamic Continent.

Tobu Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Dak’Art 98, Biennale de Dakar, Dakar, Senegal


Neue Kunst aus Afrika, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany


An Inside Story : African Art of our Time Beyong Art

Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo.

The Tokushima Modern Art Museum.

Himeji City Museum of Art.

Koriyama City Museum of Art.

Marugame Inokuma-Genichiro Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Museum of fine Art, Gifu.



Centre d’Art et de la plaisanterie, Galerie des Extravagances, Monbéliard, France


Africa Explores : 20th Century African Art

New Museum of Contemporary Art

New York - USA

Center for African Art.

New York - USA

Berkeley University Art Museum.

Bekerley- USA

Prestel -Munich, Germany.

Dallas Museum of Art, USA

Saint Louis Art Museum, USA

Mint Museum of Art, USA

Fundacio Antoni Tapies

Barcelona, USA

Ludwig Forum fur Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany

The Center for Fine Arts

Miami, USA

The Carnegie Museum of Arts

Pittsburgh, USA

The Corcoran Gallery of Art

Washington D.C., USA

Tate Gallery, Liverpool, UK


Africa Art Now: Urban Culture from Africa, Setagaya Museum and The Japan Foundation, Tokyo, Japan


Africa hoy

Atlantic Center of Modern Art.

Las Palmas Gran Canary - Spain.

Contemporary Cultural Art Center

Mexico D.F., Mexico.

Groningen Museum.

Groningen, Te Netherlands


60 ans de la peinture zairoise

German Cultural Center.

Kinshasa - RDC, formely Zaïre.


Provincialo Museum voor Modern Kunst.

Gallery Annenie Dubron.

Ostende, Belgium.


Magiciens de la Terre

Centre Georges Pompidou, Grande Halle de la Villette.

Paris, France.


Peintres Populaires du Zaïre, l'Art Vivant d'Afrique Centrale

Laval University Department of History, Quebec.

Montreal University -Department of Anthropology, Canada.


Visages et Racines du Zaïre

Decoratives Arts Museum

Paris, France.


Art Partout

Fine Art Academy, CIAF

Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo, formely Zaïre.



Finestre sull' Arte, N°10 - Arte Antica E Contemporanea Giugno Luglio Agosto - Italy. pp.146-159


Ex Africa - Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac - Sous la direction de Philippe Dagen - Gallimard, Paris


Among Others: Blackness at MoMA The Museum of Modern Art, New York, pp. 390-391


1-54 New York

Art Africa Ltd. Fair Catalogue p.68


Les Initiés, un choix d’œuvres (1989 – 2009) dans la collection d’art africain contemporain de Jean Pigozzi. Editions Dilecta, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France. Catalogue d’exposition.


Beauté Congo 1926-2015 Congo Kitoko, Fondation Cartier, Exhibition catalogue


Une brève histoire de l’avenir, Musée du Louvre, Louvre éditions, Exhibition catalogue


Beaux-arts éditions, Picasso.mania, Paris, 2015


Fiero, Gloria K., The Humanistic Tradition: Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Global Perspective, Seventh Edition, McGraw Hill Education, pg 505


Ma première histoire de l'art, Béatrice Fontanel, Editions Palette, pg 114.


Ici L'Afrique/Here Africa, Contemporary Africa through the eyes of its artists, Exhibition catalogue, curated by Adelina von Fürstenberg, Art for the World, pgs 60-1.


Apostrophe, Français 5è, Hachette Livre International, pg 27.


Mémoires Vives, 30 ans Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Fondation Cartier, Paris


Post-Picasso: Contemporary Reactions, Exhibition catalogue, Publised by Museu Picasso, Barcelona, pgs 52-57, 59,64,66,72,74,112.


Collection Louis Vuitton Travel Book, Louis Vuitton Edition, Paris


Collection Blachère 2003/2013, Fondation Blachère


AFRICA. OBJETOS Y SUJETOS Exhibition catalogue, published by cajAstur


The Making of Art, Edited by Hans Belting & Andrea Buddensieg


The Global Art World

Exhibition catalogue edited by Martina Weinhart & Max Hollein


Africa? una nuova storia

Exhibition catalogue, published by Gangemi Editore


ANGAZA AFRIKA African Art Now By Chris Spring, Published by Laurence King Publishing Ltd.


High Quality, Advertising Art Design Photography Writing, Préface : Jûrgen Rautert, Achim Heine et al., published by Heidelberg. Germany.

2008 Swindle n°15


Chéri Samba

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Silvana Editoriale Spa

Cinisello Balsamo, Milan


Why Africa?

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Electa & Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli.


100% Africa

TF Editores & FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.


Les débuts de Chéri Samba

Kunstverein Braunschweig

Verlag Buchhandlung Walther Konig, Cologne


Arts of Africa: The Contemporary Collection of Jean Pigozzi

Skira Edition & Grimaldi Forum Monaco.


African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.


J'aime Cheri Samba from the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain. Exhibition catalogue, André Magnin editor, André Magnin and Robert Storr, authors. Interviews with the artist by A. Magnin. Painter of Modern Life by R. Storr


Living with Art

Seventh Edition by Mark Getlein. Published by McGraw Hill.


Africa Remix

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Hatje Cantz Verlag.


Mami Wata : la peinture urbaine au Congo

Bogumil Jewsiewicki, Paris, Gallimard, coll. Le temps des images.


Der Rest der Welt

Exhibition catalogue. Pirmasens, Allemagne. Catalogue


Kin moto na Bruxelles

Exhibition catalogue. Quand Kinshasa réchauffe Bruxelles, Bruxelles. P. 62 à 88, 177 à 186, 220 à 237.


Afrikanische Reklamekunst

Exhibition catalogue. De Tobias Wendl. Edité par Peter Hammer et Iwalewa-Haus, Afrikazentrum der Universität Bayreuth.

Tobias Wendl. P. 84 - 85, 174.


Autour de Chéri Samba

Exhibition catalogue. Coll. Galerie Marc Dengis, Bruxelles, Belgique.


Painting on the Move

Exhibition catalogue. Bernhard Mendes Bürgi & Peter Pakesch. Kunstmuseum, Basel, P. 141.


Africa apart. Afrikanisch Künstler konfrontieren Aids

Exhibition catalogue. Santu Papa. Berlin p. 98 - 101. Sabine Schlenker and Ingo Taubhorn.


Une Fresque pour Matonge

Exhibition catalogue. Galerie Marc Dengis. Textes de Guy Forsbach et Jean-Pierre Jacquemin.


The World of Art

400 peintres du 1200 - 2002. Prof. Robert Belton. Préface C. Rothko.

P. 65 & 431 (Mobali ya Monyato).


Afrikanische Kunst

Dr. Stefan Eisenhofer & Karin Guggeis. P. 150, Munich, Deutscher Kunstverlag


An / Sichten. Malerei aus dem Kongo 1990-2000.

Exhibition catalogue. Kinshasa – Kin Kiese par Bogumil Jewsiewicki.

Edition : Springer-Verlag/Wien und Museum für Volkerkunde. Wien, Autriche.


Titouan Congo Kinshasa

Titouan Lamazou, Paris, Gallimard.


A History of Art in Africa.

Monica Blackmu Visona, Robin Poynor, Herbert M ; Cole, Michael D. Harris, Suzanne Preston Blier, Rowland Abiodun.

Prentice Hall Inc et Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Londres. P. 409 (Mobali ya Monyato).


Revue 02

Exhibition catalogue. Kinshasa, Congo.


Expériences du Divers

Exhibition catalogue. « Chéri Samba – ‘Ambassadeur Universel’ » p. 63-69. Texte de Nathalie Le Gouill et Florence Marqueyrol. Entretien avec Jean-Hubert Martin p.109-116. Texte en français. Collection Métier de l’exposition. Presses Universitaires de Rennes 2000.


Experiences du Divers. Cheri Samba- Universal Ambassador, p.63-69.

By Nathalie Le Gouill & Florence Marqueyrol.

Introduction : Jean-Hubert Martin p.109-116. Text in French.

Collection Metier de l'exposition. Rennes, University Press 2000.


Africa Africa : Vibrant New Art from a Dynamic Continent, Tokyo.

Text by Toshio Shimuzu, collective exhibition catalogue, 146 pages.

Tobu Museum, Japan.


Cheri Samba, Paris.

Hazan, Musee national des Arts d'Afrique et d'Oceanie.

Book of 95 pages, text in French by Jean-Hubert Martin & Philippe Garcia de

la Rosa.


Contemporary Art of Africa, p.162-163. Text : Jacques Soulillou.

Edited by André Magnin and Jacques Soulillou.

Publisher Harry N. Abraams.


Cheri Samba. The Hybridity of Art. L'hybridite d'un Art.

Bogumil Jewsiewicki. Bilingual texts : French, English. Book of 102 pages.

Contemporary African Artists, N1.


Cheri Samba Opere recenti ottobre.

Exhibition Catalogue, 43 pages.

Trento : Raffaeli Studio d'arte.


Cheri Samba.

Book, text in German, 103 pages.

Herausgegeben von Wolfgang Bender.

Trickster Verlag.


Aka Soa, Udro-Nkpo, Srele...Art in Black Africa.

Text in English by Andre Magnin, p.15-24.

Africa Now. Groningen Museum.


Saint Cheri, vie et oeuvres " im "pies.

Text in french : Jean-Pierre Jacquemin, 84 pages.

In Cheri Samba, le peintre populaire du Zaïre.

Exhibition catalogue, retrospective.

Ostende : Proviciaal Museum voor Moderne Kunst, (october/january).


Magiciens de la terre.

Cheri Samba Text in French p.223.

Edited by The Georges Pompidou Center.