JP Mika, La mannequine, 2015, Acrylic on fabric, 138 x 138 cm / 54 x 54 in, Signed and dated, Courtesy MAGNIN-A
JP Mika, La mannequine, 2015, Acrylic on fabric, 138 x 138 cm / 54 x 54 in, Signed and dated, Courtesy 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 in 2008, and again in 2009, alongside well-known painters Chéri Samba and Tonton Kabeya. Mika attributes his style to that of Chérin and Samba, considering them both highly influential models. His paintings pivot on narrative scenes: vivid menageries depicting well-dressed public figures and anthropomorphic animals in an acerbic critique of political systems and disingenuous agendas. Group exhibitions include Le Grand Orchestre des Animaux (2016–17) and Beauté Congo –1926–2015 – Congo Kitoko (2015), both held at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris; and Folk Art Africain? Créations contemporaines en Afrique subsaharienne, FRAC Aquitaine, Bordeaux (2015).