Mbela Mambueni- is a promising young painter from DR Congo who is part of an up-and-coming generation of Congolese painters who have long raised high the flag of the artistic family. 24 years old, a few years removed from the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa, Mbela is expressing his talents through strokes of acrylic to depict, arguably, the two most important actors on earth: Humans and Animals.
His work on human portraits, bright color faces of people is inspired by everyday people of his hometown Kinshasa. Over the past few years, Mbela has been painting using a patchwork of colors to make the faces come alive. These paintings take a life of their own. When he’s not painting faces, Mbela is bringing to life insects, bugs and other of our animal friends. Some of these paintings are a tedious, minutious repetition of butterflies. The depiction of bugs, insects and butterflies is a social critique of how in theory we are equal but in reality there is a very shortlist of those who have, and those who have not make the vast majority who is struggling to make it.
The use of bright colors is Mbela’s “answer” to the harsh conditions in which millions of people, in his home country and across the world, live. His paintings want to break away from the “real and perceived darkness. While the media, politicians, fake priests and other charlatans find a way to mastermind the negative, the bleak, the dark, Mbela sees his paintings taking the opposite view: if they are the Ying, Mbela wants to be the Yang.
He has participated in a number of Kinshasa-based art exhibits including “Dimensions Plurielles” organized by the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles. In October 2016, he presented for the first time his work in Paris during the African Art Fair 2016.