Primo Marella Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Africa Universe. Chapter 3,The art of storytellers. The continuation of the tradition: from Chéri Cherin to Amani Bodo, the third part of a group show, entirely dedicated to Contemporary African Art. The exhibition will include the work of artists such as Ifeoma U. Anyaeji, Amani Bodo, Chéri Cherin, Tréson Cherin, Sam Ilus, Januario Jano, Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, Luc Mukolo, Gedeon Ndonda and Amina Zoubir
Africa Universe is a monumental project divided in three chapters – exhibitions. The first chapter of Africa Universe featured the work of Angolan artist Januario Jano. The second part of this artistic journey introduced the work of an emerging Zimbabwean artist - Troy Makaza. The third chapter instead will be dedicated to a group of African artists of different generations and in particular it will feature the work of Chéri Cherin (1955, Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Amani Bodo (1988, Democratic Republic of the Congo), the artists who have been associated with the School of Popular Painting from Kinshasa.
This artistic movement, initially practiced on sacks attached onto the canvas and displayed on the streets, was born in the seventies of the 20th century in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The movement was described by the founding artists as something that comes from the people and is for the people, thus expressing their interest in the imaginary deriving from daily life and popular culture. The nature of Popular Painting, mainly figurative and descriptive, is visceral and complex as it criticizes, often with a vein of cynicism and irony, the social and political life of the African community. The international political scene concerning the African continent, the role of local despots, the domination of the elite class over the masses, globalization, sexuality and the relationship between man and woman.
These are some of the main themes depicted on the canvases of the Storytellers. We have decided to define this group of artists as Storytellers since their work often seems to be an assembly just like a comic book or a puzzle. Their paintings are built from diverse images, drawings and words that aim to tell a story within a single image.
In this artistic universe, Chéri Cherin (1955, Democratic Republic of the Congo) was one of the most talented masters. Through the use of a vivid palette, a simplified representation and the integration of traditional codes, Cherin creates in his canvases the illusion of being in front of a comic book in this way allowing the observer to get to the heart of the interpretation of the image. Similarly, the artist Amani Bodo (1988, Democratic Republic of the Congo), son of the well-known artist Pierre Bodo, takes his cue from the popular life of his native land. However, unlike Chéri Cherin, Amani Bodo deviates from the representation in comics style in favour of metaphorical and allegorical painting, rich in symbolism.