J'aime la couleur, 2007
Acrylic and glitter on canvas. 84 1/2 x 53 1/4 in. (214.6 x 135.3 cm). Signed, dated and inscribed "Chéri Samba D.2007 N.B. C'est le dernier T. de la série" lower right.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO/FRANCE
PROVENANCE Private collection, Paris; Magnin.A [Art Advisory], Paris
The paintings of Chéri Samba, full of caustic humor, appear as a fierce critique of social and political life. As a midway between popular painting and comics, the favored themes of Chéri Samba are diverse and varied but always singular: corruption, war, underdevelopment, AIDS or adultery--and often the relationship between African cultures and the West and inevitable globalization. Samba's strength as a painter is his power to deal with controversial issues from the representation of everyday life, pleasures and the paradoxes that we find in cultures in development. Samba's paintings are always easily accessible and highly appreciated by all kinds of public audience which is a result of his belief that artists should not only reflect on but also appeal to the conscience of the viewer. In "J'aime la couleur", Chéri Samba presents us with a fully frontal self-portrait which appears almost superimposed on the canvas. There is no perspective and depth is virtually nonexistent, it is only suggested by the opposition of warm and light colors. The powerful color palette, the simplification of the composition to its most essential elements, the self-representation and its moralistic target, and importantly it's monumental scale all make "J'aime la couleur" one of the most major works by the artist. "Color is everywhere. I find that color is life. It must turn our heads like a spiral to recognize that everything around us is nothing but color. 'I like the color' not to say 'I love painting.' The color is the universe, the universe that's life, painting that's life. I made this painting also to stop saying that there are people of color and others do not. It's a big mistake. As a painter, I feel that everything around me and also 'people' have a color.' (Chéri Samba)