Congolese Artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga At The October Gallery: Fragile Responsibility

Artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga is back for his third solo at the October Gallery. The artist will be presenting his new exposition: Fragile Responsibility.

Kamuanga draws from the structural complexity of his hometown and revisits the traditional culture of the Mangbetu people. They live in the orientale province of the Republic Democratic of Congo (RDC).

Their language is called kingbetu in the regional language of Lingala, but the Mangbetu call it nemangbetu. It is a member of the Central Sudanic language family.

The Mangbetu are known for their highly developed art and music. One instrument associated with and named after them is the Mangbetu harp or guitar. One harp has sold for over $100,000.

Musicologists have also sought out the Mangbetu to make video and audio recordings of their music.

The Mangbetu stood out to European explorers because of their elongated heads. Traditionally, babies’ heads were wrapped tightly with a cloth in order to give them this distinctive appearance. The practice, called Lipombo, began dying out in the 1950’s with the arrival of more Europeans and westerniaation. Because of this distinctive look, it is easy to recognise Mangbetu figures in African Art.

Referencing different forms of advertising and photography as well as traditional aesthetics, paintings of Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga are an amalgam of complementary pop cultural forms, including music, fashion and dance. They offer an intelligent approach to popular culture by exposing the anxieties and joys of his contemporaries. He has exhibited most recently at Saatchi Gallery, London as part of Pangaea II.

The exposition will be on at the October Gallery from 9th May to 16th June.


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