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.

cherisamba.net

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2022

17 September - 23 October

Chéri Samba: Stupéfaction

Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris

2007/2008

04 December 2007 – 31 January 08

Chéri Samba

Corsoveneziatto Arte Contemporanea

Milano, Italy

2005

5 March – 8 May

Les débuts de Chéri Samba

Kunstverein

Braunschweig - Germany

2005

28 Jan – 8 May

J’aime Chéri Samba

A selection of paintings from the exhibition at the Fondation Cartier

Texas Southern University

Houston - USA

2004

J’aime Chéri Samba

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

Paris – France

Interview of Chéri Samba at the Cartier Foundation

2003

Chéri Samba moto na Tervuren

Musée Royal de l’Afrique

Tervuren – Belgium

2000

Chéri Samba une fois encore à Kinshasa

Centre Culturel du Zoo

Kinshasa - République Démocratique du Congo

1999

Ludwig Forum fur internationale Kunst.

Aachen - Germany.

1998

Cheri Samba. MAMCO.

Geneva, Switzerland.

1997

Chéri Samba, Übersee Museum, Bremen, Germany

1996

National Museum of Oceanian and Africain Arts

Paris - France.

1991

Portikus Kunsthalle

Francfurt - Germany.

1991

ICA -Institut of Contemporary Art.

London- UK

1991

Museum of Contemporary Art

Chicago - U.S.A.

1990

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.

1984

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

1980

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.

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2019

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

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

2018

Africa Passions, Palais Cadaval, Evora, Portugal

2018

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

2018

Quel Amour !?, MAC, Marseille, France

2017

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)

2017

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

2017

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

2017

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)

2017

Histoires congolaises, bibliothèque Robert-Desnos, Montreuil, France

2017

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

2016

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

2016

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

2016

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

2016

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

2016

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

2016

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

2015

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

2015

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

2015

Picasso in Contemporary Art, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany

FIAC OFFICIELLE, Paris, France

Picasso Mania, Grand-Palais, Paris, France

1:54, Contemporary African Art Fair, London

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

Art Genève, Switzerland

2014

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

2014

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

2014

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

2014

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

2014

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

FIAC OFFICIELLE, Paris, France

1:54 Foire d'art contemporain africain, London

Art Genève, Geneva, Switzerland

2013

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

2012

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

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

2011/2012

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

2011

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

2010

Kinshasa Pop, Galerie Pangée, Montreal, Canada

2010

African Stories

Marrakech Art Fair, Marrakech, Morroco

2009 - 2010

Africa? Una nuova storia

Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy

2009

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

2007/2008

Why Africa?

Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli

Turin, Italy

2007/2008

Intrusions

Petit Palais Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris

Paris, France

2007

June – November 07

Venice Biennale

Italian Pavillon

Venice, Italy

2007/2008

"Popular Painting" from Kinshasa

Tate Modern, (Room 10)

London – UK

2007

Black Paris

Museum der Weltkulturen

Frankfurt, Germany

2006/2007

100% Africa

Guggenheim Museum

Bilbao, Spain

2006

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

2005

Arts of Africa

Grimaldi Forum

Monaco, France

2005

African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection

Museum of Fine Art Houston

Houston, USA

2004 (travelling exhibition)

Africa Remix

Art contemporain d’un continent

* 24 July 2004 – 7 Nov 2004

Museum Kunst Palast

Düsseldorf - Germany

* 10 Feb 2005 – 17 April 2005

Hayward Gallery

London – England

* 15 May 2005 – 20 Aug 2005

Centre Georges Pompidou

Paris – France

* Feb – May 2006

Mori Art Museum

Tokyo

2004

Le Salon du Mai

Atheliers Berthier

Opera National de Paris

Paris, France

2004

Peinture populaire congolaise

ADEIAO – Centre d’Etudes Africaines

Maison des Sciences de l’Homme

Paris, France

2004

Je m’installe aux abattoirs

La collection d’art contemporain d’agnès b.

Les Abattoirs

Toulouse - France

2004

Les Afriques

Tri Postal

Lille, France

2003

Der Rest der Welt

Neuffer am Park

Pirmasens, Germany

2003

Kin Moto na Bruxelles

Hôtel de Ville

Brussels, Belgium

2002 – 2003

Afrikanische Reklamekunst (L’art et la pub en Afrique)

Iwalewa-Haus, Universität Bayreuth

Bayreuth, Germany

2003

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

2002

Espace Croise "Kin Service"

Contemporary Art Center. Roubaix, France.

2002

Swiss National Exhibition - EXPO 02: "Money & Value"

Lake of Biel, Switzerland.

2002

Sao Paulo Biennal

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

2001

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

1999-2000

Kustwelten im Dialog

Museum Ludwig

Cologne, Germany.

1998

Africa Africa Vibrant New Art from a Dynamic Continent.

Tobu Museum, Tokyo, Japan

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

1996

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

1995-1996

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.

JAPAN.

1994

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

1994-1991

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

1993

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

1992-1991

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

1991

60 ans de la peinture zairoise

German Cultural Center.

Kinshasa - RDC, formely Zaïre.

1990

Provincialo Museum voor Modern Kunst.

Gallery Annenie Dubron.

Ostende, Belgium.

1989

Magiciens de la Terre

Centre Georges Pompidou, Grande Halle de la Villette.

Paris, France.

1985

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

Laval University Department of History, Quebec.

Montreal University -Department of Anthropology, Canada.

1982

Visages et Racines du Zaïre

Decoratives Arts Museum

Paris, France.

1978

Art Partout

Fine Art Academy, CIAF

Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo, formely Zaïre.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2021

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

2021

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

2019

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

2019

1-54 New York

Art Africa Ltd. Fair Catalogue p.68

2017

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.

2015

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

2015

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

2015

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

2015

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

2014

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

2014

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.

2014

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

2014

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

2014

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

2013

Collection Louis Vuitton Travel Book, Louis Vuitton Edition, Paris

2012

Collection Blachère 2003/2013, Fondation Blachère

2010

AFRICA. OBJETOS Y SUJETOS Exhibition catalogue, published by cajAstur

2009

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

2009

The Global Art World

Exhibition catalogue edited by Martina Weinhart & Max Hollein

2009

Africa? una nuova storia

Exhibition catalogue, published by Gangemi Editore

2008

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

2008

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

2008 Swindle n°15

2007

Chéri Samba

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Silvana Editoriale Spa

Cinisello Balsamo, Milan

2007

Why Africa?

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

2006

100% Africa

TF Editores & FMGB Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.

2005

Les débuts de Chéri Samba

Kunstverein Braunschweig

Verlag Buchhandlung Walther Konig, Cologne

2005

Arts of Africa: The Contemporary Collection of Jean Pigozzi

Skira Edition & Grimaldi Forum Monaco.

2005

African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.

2004

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

2004

Living with Art

Seventh Edition by Mark Getlein. Published by McGraw Hill.

2004

Africa Remix

Exhibition catalogue. Published by Hatje Cantz Verlag.

2003

Mami Wata : la peinture urbaine au Congo

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

2003

Der Rest der Welt

Exhibition catalogue. Pirmasens, Allemagne. Catalogue

2003

Kin moto na Bruxelles

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

2003

Afrikanische Reklamekunst

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

Tobias Wendl. P. 84 - 85, 174.

2002

Autour de Chéri Samba

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

2002

Painting on the Move

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

2002

Africa apart. Afrikanisch Künstler konfrontieren Aids

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

2002

Une Fresque pour Matonge

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

2002

The World of Art

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

P. 65 & 431 (Mobali ya Monyato).

2002

Afrikanische Kunst

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

2001

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.

2001

Titouan Congo Kinshasa

Titouan Lamazou, Paris, Gallimard.

2000

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).

2000

Revue 02

Exhibition catalogue. Kinshasa, Congo.

2000

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.

1999

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.

1998

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

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

Tobu Museum, Japan.

1997

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.

1996

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

Edited by André Magnin and Jacques Soulillou.

Publisher Harry N. Abraams.

1995

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.

1992

Cheri Samba Opere recenti ottobre.

Exhibition Catalogue, 43 pages.

Trento : Raffaeli Studio d'arte.

1991

Cheri Samba.

Book, text in German, 103 pages.

Herausgegeben von Wolfgang Bender.

Trickster Verlag.

1991

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

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

Africa Now. Groningen Museum.

1990

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).

1989

Magiciens de la terre.

Cheri Samba Text in French p.223.

Edited by The Georges Pompidou Center.