Arts + Culture News

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga’s Work Is Based In The Past To Explain The Present

November 28, 2018

Congolese Artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and studied painting at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Kinshasa.

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga’s work analyses the cultural and social shifts in current Congolese society and the effects of globalization on native ancestry. He deeply explores the shifts in the economic, political and social identity of the DRC that happened since colonialism.

an afrofuturism animation of a man with his head in his hands

In Eddy’s paintings, the markers of global modernity are very present. His work intends to investigate past and present power structures: “Understanding the present through the past is central to my work,” said Eddy. Together with other artists, Eddy established M’Pongo, a group studio where a couple of young creatives share ideas and exhibit together to generate their own art scene.

The DRC is the world’s largest producer of coltan, that is mined simply by hand that contains tantalum, a key metal for the electronics industry.

an afrofuturism animation of a man a family

For his latest project, Kamuanga uses the history of the Congo Kingdom to analyze the origin of its leaders and to study the influence that it had on contemporary Congolese society. One of Kamuanga’s approach is the history of slavery and ancestors who resisted human trafficking by showing a vision of the social and political landscape of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kamuanga’s work has been exhibited across the world; Dak’art in Senegal, Saatchi Gallery’s Panagaea II in London, and Armory Show in New York, just to name a few.

Eddy Kamuanga blends classical poses of European Old Masters with vibrant prints of central Africa. At the same time, Kamuanga simulates electronic circuits and chips on the skin of the people of the paintings, as an irony; circuit boards are made of minerals found in Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world’s biggest producers of coltan, an essential metal for the electronics industry.

Kamuanga wants to raise awareness about the conditions under which people in DRC live; so many villages are destroyed by other countries exploiting these metals. He uses acrylic and oil to paint from photographs of scenes posed with real models, exposing the exploitation of “black man and minerals“.


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