JP Mika, La Belle ambiance, 2016, Acrylic on fabric, 98 x 78 cm, Courtesy of Galerie MAGNIN-A
JP Mika, La Belle ambiance, 2016, Acrylic on fabric, 98 x 78 cm, Courtesy of Galerie MAGNIN-A 

JP Mika’s early interest in painting advertising boards for a marginal living wage brought him to study painting at the Académie des Beaux-Arts (ABA) in Kinshasa. Graduating in 2007, reputed Congolese painter Chéri Chérin soon became a mentor to Mika, encouraging him to exhibit his work in Bilbao, Spain, in 2008, and again in 2009, alongside well-known painters Chéri Samba and Tonton Kabeya. The following year, Mika was featured in the fifty years of independence festivities of Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa and Belgium.

Mika attributes his style to that of Chérin and Samba, considering them both highly influential models. His paintings centre on narrative scenes, vivid menageries depicting well-dressed public figures and humanised animals in a sharp critique of the political system and disingenuous agendas. In 2015, Mika was included in Beauté Congo –1926-2015 – Congo Kitoko at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris, France.