Wess Itshiri

Through his works, Congolese artist Wess Itshiri invites us to question ourselves and those around us through the deconstructed and incomplete bodies, to remind each one of us of the complexity of the human body and the voyage that each one of us has embarked on.

We were looking for the father, we ended up finding the son. One day, we went out looking for the man who painted one of the largest paintings we had ever bought at a well-known place in Kinshasa where paintings, sculptures, masks, and all types of artistic and cultural objects- of all colors, sizes and types- are sold. After a two-hour ride, we found the artist. Upon leaving, he told us that he has a son that we should talk to.

Sure they share the same blood, but Wess Tata Itshiri is not an artistic photocopy of his father. If the father’s style is rather dark and sinister, Wess’ style reflects hope and energy, two of the most important ingredients to the daily life of millions of young Congolese, young Africans living in the continent. In doing so, Wess depicts the human body, and in particular human faces, as a window into who we are. The faces are never perfect, the lines are never straight, the circles never come full circle, his way of showing the imperfection of this daily quest for a better life- and that’s not a question of age or generation- because in fine, we are each striving for our perfection via our imperfections.

Through his works, Wess invites us to question ourselves and those around us through the deconstructed and incomplete bodies, to remind each one of us of the complexity of the human body and the voyage that each one of us has embarked on. Lively colors play an important in transporting the ideas of hope and energy that are a constant in his paintings.

Highlights

Part of a young generation of painters who live and work in Kinshasa, Wess has participated in collective exhibitions in Kinshasa and Brazzaville. In July 2017, he represented DR Congo at the Francophonie Games in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Following the Games, a number of his paintings stayed in Abidjan where they were on display at la Rotonde des Arts.