In 1972, Chéri Samba left school to embark on an apprenticeship with the sign painters on Kasa-Vubu Avenue, Kinshasa. From this circle of artists; Moke, Cheik Ledy, among others, arose a prolific school of popular painting. Working as a billboard painter and a comic strip artist, Samba employed the conventions of both genres, resorting to painting on sacking cloth when canvas became unaffordable. Samba’s compositions reveal his keen perception of the social, political, economic, and cultural realities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and expose intimate facets of everyday life in Kinshasa. His paintings present an on-going commentary that is reflective of popular customs, sexuality, health, social inequalities and corruption.
Samba’s exhibitions include Art / Afrique: le nouvel atelier, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017) and Essentiel Paysage, Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden (MACAAL), Marrakech (2016–17) and Beauté Congo – 1926–2015 – Congo Kitoko, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2015).