Popular Painting started in the 1960s when the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared its independence from Belgium. The movement reimagined Congolese national identity at this crucial moment through scenes of everyday life. Popular painting focuses on popular culture, local figures, and colonial history.
Chéri Samba is perhaps the greatest popular painter. Samba mastered the use of humor and irony in exploring his identity as an artist and the collective, postcolonial identity of the DRC in works of art like “Je suis l'homme qui mange de la peinture” (“I am the man who eats paint”).
Image: Chéri Samba, “Je suis l'homme qui mange de la peinture” (“I am the man who eats paint”) (2005). Acrylic and glitter on canvas. 120 x 150 cm (47 1/4 x 59 1/16 in)