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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.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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