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.

News Brief
Photo: Single cover art courtesy of Emerald East

Rema Welcomes 2021 With New Single 'Bounce'

The Don Jazzy produced track reminds us of why the Nigerian singer-songwriter is topping charts.

Nigerian golden boy Rema took his time on deciding how to start of 2021—and we're glad he did.

The afropop hitmaker is out with his first project of the year, "Bounce", after stunning fans with word of an upcoming album, and the cooks in this kitchen have not disappointed.

Keeping it in the Mavin Records family, legendary producer Don Jazzy sprinkles his magic on the track, while undoubtedly motivating the young singer-songwriter to be his best self. And with this track being like nothing we've heard from Rema before, one could say Jazzy succeeded. "Bounce", fast-paced and fierce, is a love song dedicated to bewitchingly beautiful and blessed bottoms. The candid declaration and hip shaking beat are a force duo and we can't help but love it.

Of the single and collaboration with head honcho Don Jazzy, Rema says, "This record was inspired by the luscious and magnificent body of the African woman. Furthermore, I'm really excited about this tune because it's my first single with the legendary Don Jazzy."

Honestly, when you start the year off with a banger, you get to make songs about butts.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Interview: Sincerely Ria Is Giving Guinean Fashion Its Flowers

And designer Mariama Diallo's NYFW debut celebrates the vibrancy and uniqueness of Guinea and its Fulani culture.