Arts + Culture

London’s October Gallery Presents Congolese Visual Artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga’s First UK Solo Exhibition

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga centers his series on the plight of Mangbetu people of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

London’s cultural hub October Gallery brings to the masses the Democratic Republic of Congo’s promising, young artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga’s first solo United Kingdom exhibition, "Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga."


The energetic works of the 25-year-old creative and founder of dynamic Congolese art collective ‘M’Pongo juxtapose modern and traditional aesthetics and pay homage to Mangbetu people, known for their elongated heads, musicality (they invented the Mangbetu harp and guitar) and artistry. Ilunga centers his series, on display from June 30 to July 30, on the precarious state of the clan of the Orientale Province. Commenting on the threat modernization poses on the continued existence of the warriors' culture, the Kinshasa-born artist’s oil-acrylic paintings reference the Mangbetu’s colorful textiles and cultural symbols as well as one of the DRC’s most valued natural resources coltan—used to power the world’s computer chips and mobile phones—which compose his subject’s ebony skin.

“His paintings possess a monumental quality that is both heroic and elegiac with a striking and sophisticated interplay of intensity and emptiness, two and three dimensions, and Congolese pattern painted as European drapery,” the October Gallery’s press release states.

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Reconnaissance, 2016.
Courtesy of October Gallery.

This is Ilunga’s first exhibition at the October Gallery and continues the excitement building around the Kinshasa Academy of Arts-educated visual artist since presenting his works at New York’s Armory Show in March and at  London’s 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in 2015.

If you find yourself in London Saturday, July 2, be sure to reserve your spot here for Ilunga’s conversation with independent curator Gabriela Salgado about his new body of work.

Find a sampling of his work below:

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, False memories, 2016. Courtesy of October Gallery.

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Identity Victim, 2016. Courtesy of October Gallery.

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Oubliez le passé et vous perdez les deux yeux, 2016.
Courtesy of October Gallery.

Music
Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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