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'Beauté Congo' Retrospective Showcases 90 Years Of Congolese Art

A new exhibition in Paris showcases the history and evolution of Congolese visual art over a ninety-year span.

All images courtesy of Fondation Cartier


Beauté Congo - 1926-2015 - Congo Kitoko is a new exhibition showcasing the history and evolution of Congolese visual art over a ninety-year span. Currently on display at Paris' Fondation Cartier, the retrospective traces the wealth of the region's artistic productions from the 1920s to present day through painting, photography, sculpture, music, film, comics and performance art.

The exhibit, curated by Andre Magnin, features over three hundred works by contemporary Congolese (and two Angolan-born) artists, including photographers Sammy Baloji, Ambroise Ngaimoko and Jean Depara, landscape artists Mega Mingiedi Tunga and Jean-Bosco Kamba, sculptors Bodys Isek Kingelez and Rigobert Nimi, and "popular painters" Moke, Chéri Samba, JP Mika, and Chéri Chérin among others.

Beauté Congo also delves into the history of the DRC's popular music with an audiovisual excursion through the "golden age of Congolese rumba" during the '60s and '70s. Visitors will be able to experience the sounds of pioneering soukous artists such as Tabu Ley Rochereau, Papa Wemba, Franco Luambo and his OK Jazz orchestra, and the "Queen of Congolese rumba," M'bilia Bel, alongside specific works on display. A never-before-seen music documentary on Kinshasa's music scene in the sixties, titled Ndule Ya Kala, will also be screening during the exhibit.

Click through the gallery above for a preview of works on display in the retrospective.

Beauté Congo - 1926-2015 - Congo Kitoko is on view at Fondation Cartier in Paris through November 15th.

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Mdou Moctar performs on the Hydro Quebec stage at Place D'Youville during Day 4 of the 52nd Festival D'été Quebec (FEQ2019) on July 7, 2019 in Quebec City, Canada. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns)

Celebrated Tuareg Musician, Mdou Moctar, Returns With New Single 'Ibitlan'

Listen to a psychedelic new track from the renowned Nigerien artist.

Celebrated Nigerien-born, Tuareg musician Mdou Moctar returns with the blazing new single "Ibitlan."

The psychedelic track sees the artist delivering electrifying guitar riffs in the Tuareg tradition. He sings passionately throughout the track, which as the artist notes, is a love song describing his lover's beauty. He further described the song in a statement via The Fader:

It's like when there's a valley, with a stream running through it, and all the plants are green. The song is about how my girlfriend is beautiful like that. Her skin is like a yellow flower, and her smile is like lightning.

The track is the artist's first since the release of his 2019 album, Ilana (The Creator), which NPR Music described as the most "insane psychedelic guitar album of the 21st century." Before then, he released 2017's Sousoume Tamachek.

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Watch 1987's 'La Vie Est Belle' Starring The Late Papa Wemba

Papa Wemba starred in the hit film that tells the story of a struggling musician who tries to make it big in Kinshasa.

Photo of film art courtesy of Jeremy Rall.

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Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

We caught up with both of them to talk about just what it took from each of them to bring the powerful story to the big screen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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