room for humour


Chéri Samba


Samba wa Mbimba N’zingo Nuni Masi Ndo Mbasi, called Chéri Samba was born in 1956 in Kinto M’Vuila, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).


Chéri Samba is declared by critics to be one of Africa’s most prolific and well-known living artists whose artistic career started in Kinshasa, Congo in 1972 as an apprentice for a bill board painter studio. He also earned his living as a comic strip painter.


In the mid 1970s the ‘School of Popular Painting’ was founded in Kinshasa by Chéri Samba who was joined by Moke (1950 - 2001), Chéri Chérin (b. 1955) and Bodo (b. 1953). Chéri Samba’s younger brother, Cheik Ledy (1962 - 1997), later became associated with the group. These five artists, three of whom continue to live and work in Kinshasa, are widely regarded as being among the leading contemporary African painters within sub-Saharan Africa.


Largely self-taught artist Chéri Samba approaches painting as a universal medium with the utopian potential to effect change. He has been documenting and satirising the absurdities of everyday life in the Congo for more than 30 years, often portraying himself in his highly politicised, vivid figurative paintings.


Chéri Samba has participated in major group exhibitions, including Africa Remix (2004 - 2006) in Düsseldorf, London, Paris and Tokyo, and the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007).


Chéri Samba is represented in the Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC), Geneva, which was founded in 1989 by Jean Pigozzi and curated from the outset by André Magnin. It is the largest private collection of its kind and has helped many African artists to show their work in major institutions around the world.


Chéri Samba lives and works in Kinshasa.