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The free spirit of Congolese art, Francis Mampuya depicts his rebellious feelings on canvas.  His abstract and semi-figurative works convey his profoundly humanist values, and shout out against injustice, repression, and the denial of democracy.

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Francis Mampuya_portrait Alain Huart_Galerie Angalia
© Alain Huart 2018

Born in Kinshasa (DRC) in 1967. Lives in Kinshasa.

He was a student at ABA, but stormed out after a year, fleeing the academy’s philosophy, which was suffocating him. He founded the Libristes group with two friends. Although each of the members ultimately went their own way, Mampuya had already started to spread his wings. In 1997, he received the Missio art prize in Germany. Mampuya’s universe is alternatively semi-figurative and abstract, with the abstraction always supposed to be allusive. Although his work’s strong colours are immediately striking, with red being the dominant colour, the message is quite dark and pain is never far away. Faces have no mouths because the voice of the people is gagged or inaudible, and silhouettes are blurred because everything is uncertain and confused. Colour is thrown onto the canvases in a quick and rough movement.

Francis Mampuya has his ardent supporters, because of his work, obviously, but also because of his personal qualities – his simple and sincere consideration, his calm nature and discreet charm. He mainly exhibits in Kinshasa, where he recently received first prize in an exhibition dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence. Mampuya the rebel, the libriste, is gradually becoming a sure value of the Congolese art world and an established name. His latest stunning solo exhibition at the Texaf-Bilembo Cultural Centre in Kinshasa in April-May 2018 was a great success. Its title: Libres pensées (Free thoughts), proving that Francis Mampuya has not changed at all.

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