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Cheri Cherin

Cheri Cherin b 1955, Kinshasa

Primarily a narrative painter, Cherin (real name Joseph Kinkonda), lives and works in Kinshasa, DRC.

His work is featured in collections like the Pigozzi and the Foundation Cartier and his art has been exhibited in cities like Tokyo, Paris, London, Dusseldorf and Stockholm as well as being part of the travelling Africa Remix of 2004-2005.

Cheri Cherin started his artistic career by painting murals on the walls of bars, barbershops and small boutiques as well as taking orders for posters and adverts and his art has never really lost the strong, flamboyant and dramatic style associated with this graphic work.

It remains somewhat caricatured and exaggerated while being representational at the same time. Dosed with humour but acutely observed, Cherin looks both within and outside Congolese society for inspiration and social comment in his work. All manner of human relationships are portrayed in his full, energetic and narrative compositions.

The Zaire School of Popular Painting emerged in the 1970s as an artistic movement.

The 1978 exhibition Art Everywhere brought attention to this group of young artists who were dominating the painting scene in Kinshasa.... like Cheri Samba, Moke and Bodo, along with Cherin. He gravitated towards them and their popular art rather than pursue the fine art training he had had at the Academie des Beaux Arts in Kinshasa.

Together, they all boldly portrayed the challenges of modern Congolese society and politics, shying away from very little in their subject matter.

While the School remains based in and largely influenced by life in Kinshasa, increased international recognition has lead to a shift in the artists’ themes and subject matter. By tackling more worldly, common issues their work has achieved a wider appeal and audience.

Today Cheri Cherin is one of the best painters in Kinshasa and is a teacher to many talented young artists. 

For a great deal more insight into his work see here:

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