In his series Mangbetu, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga draws on the structural complexity of his hometown, Kinshasa, in order to explore the predicament of the Mangbetu people, a warrior culture whose existence is being threatened by a national desire to modernise. Presenting various modes of mass-produced advertising alongside sets of traditional aesthetics, Kamuanga’s haunting paintings provide an imaginative forum where centuries-old traditions encounter mass-communication technologies in a compelling encounter of attractive opposites.
Kamuanga first studied art at the National Institute of Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts of Kinshasa before breaking away from formal studies to launch his own project, Studio M’Pongo — a platform that allowed him to chart a more independent path. His work has been exhibited internationally, and the Financial Time’s How to Spend It featured his work to represent The Best of New York Armory 2016. Kamuanga’s first London solo show was held at October Gallery (2016).