Amani Bodo is an African artist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, born in 1988, takes his first steps into the art world at just 10 years old, after being fascinated by the Congolese popular artistic movement, which used to paint his own art over jute sacks, left unattended in the markets in Kinshasa.
It is precisely on these first childish sensations that Amani will decide to base his artistic work, using allegorical figures, coming from the typical African fauna, referring to tribal culture and symbology.
Son of art, as his father, Pierre Bodo, was also an artist, he became the contemporary bearer and representative of the popular movement of Congolese artists of Kinshasa born in the 70s (1977), which saw as main exponents Cheri Cherin, Chéri Samba and the aforementioned father Pierre Bodo.
The nature of popular painting, to which Amani refers, is mainly figurative and descriptive, but also visceral and complex as it criticizes the political and social life of the African community, often with a vein of cynicism and irony, addressing issues such as wars, sexuality and the daily situations that African people find themselves living in.
Despite the difficulty and precariousness that the African continent experiences, in this context Amani is able to develop a critical sense in regards to the reality that surrounds him, which is not limited only to his own land, but rather he reflects on the most important and current problems that the world lived and is living in this period.
What the artist is interested the most in is precisely this characteristic. Often he defines his - mission - as the narration of the most important events, coming from the world’s contemporary situations, through metaphors, never obvious, which often fascinate and, at the same time, displace the viewer, intriguing him and making him reflect on the concept the artist wants to represent.
Amani makes art his own stage, within which he has been able to evolve his style, reaching the development of a refined painting technique but which at the same time maintains a characteristic that immediately brings back a feeling of pure African essence.
What has always differentiated Amani's vision of Surrealism from the more classical conception of the just mentioned movement is the multitude of messages that the artist wants to explicit and the synergy that each of these symbols has with one another, thus shaming on a single great meaning that could only be correctly interpreted with the presence of various and different metaphors.
"Ce qui nous influence nous dirige" translated from French "What influences us directs us" is probably the key work to best define Amani's personal vision of Surrealism. The title explains how the artist perceives today's digital reality, characterised by continuous influences from various media, social networks or advertisements.
However, Amani explains his own personal vision of reality, which is not exclusively characterised by what can be the "digital" influence, but also by his own past, represented by the hourglass, and how it can restrain us, chain us, keep us tied to past traumas that do not allow us to react to the difficulties that humanity is experiencing, rendering us helpless while we observe the destruction of our Earth, represented by the anonymous hand that throws the ashes and dusts of destruction.
Within Amani's conception of art, culture occupies a central role, described as the luxuriant flower of humanity. To the artist, it is at the basis of today's society, but it is not just this: culture is the lifeblood that feeds and inspires each of us, and that each of us decides to contemplate.
Amani reminds that it is fundamental to him that it does not matter where we are in the present, but rather where we come from, where we came from, therefore, what our reality was like and what characteristics accompany each of us.
Certain characteristics and details within artworks, such as multi-ethnicity, remark this concept. Each of us comes from a different culture and has a particular past history that derive from specific people and realities.