Chéri Samba or Samba wa Mbimba N’zingo Nuni Masi Ndo Mbasi (born December 30, 1956 in Kinto M’Vuila) is a
painter from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is one of the most famous contemporary African artists, with his works being included in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has been invited to participate in the 2007 Venice Biennale. His paintings almost always include text in French and Lingala, commenting on life in Africa and the modern world. Chéri Samba lives in Kinshasa and Paris.
Chéri Samba was born in Kinto M’Vuila as the elder son of a family of ten children. His father was a blacksmith and his mother a farmer. in 1972, at the age of 16 he left the village to find work as a sign painter in the capital Kinshasa.
In 1975 he opened his own studio. At the same time he also became an illustrator for the entertainment magazine Bilenge Info. It is at this time when he developed his signature style of combining paintings with text. His work earned him some local fame. His breakthrough was the exhibition Les Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1989, which made him known internationally.
In 2007, curator Robert Storr invited Samba to participate in the 52nd International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, entitled “Think with the Senses—Feel with the Mind. Art in the Present Tense”, and described by The Huffington Post as ‘certainly “the exhibition” of this new Century’.
Chéri Samba, Corsoveneziatto Arte Contemporanea, Milano, Italy
Les débuts de Chéri Samba, Kunstverein, Braunschweig – Germany
J’aime Chéri Samba, A selection of paintings from the exhibition at the Fondation Cartier, Texas Southern University, Houston – USA
J’aime Chéri Samba, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France
Chéri Samba moto na Tervuren, Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale, Tervuren, Belgique
Kinshasa Congo. Fabien Rigobert / Moke, Chéri Samba, Espace Croisé, Centre d’art contemporain, Roubaix, France