As the author in the 1990s of small-scale cartoons, which were a great success in the working-class districts of Kinshasa, Papa Mfumu’Eto 1er, the artist-cartoonist-anthropologist, is continuing on canvas his exploration of mystical-religious and everyday Kinshasa.

Papa Mfumu’Eto 1er_Portrait_Galerie Angalia
© P. Daubert, 2018

Born in 1963 in Matadi (DRC). He lives in Kinshasa.

Jaspe Saphir Mfumu’Eto studied painting and interior design, but burst onto the art scene with his cartoons. In 1990, he produced and distributed a cartoon telling one of those stories with supernatural and mystical undertones that are part of the life of people from Kinshasa – Nguma a meli mwasi na kati ya Kinshasa (A boa that swallowed a woman). It proved to be an outstanding success. Mfumu’Eto (meaning “our chief” in Kikongo) then started to produce the cartoons at a furious pace (over 10 issues a month), and soon over 100,000 were in circulation in the districts of Kinshasa. These famous cartoons were displayed at the Beauté Congo – Congo Kitoko exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris (2015-2016).

Mfumu’Eto then moved into painting and launched himself, under the name of Papa Mfumu’Eto 1er, in 2000. He started to use canvas to convey his take on Kinshasa society once again. His works still speak of supernatural abductions and mystic ceremonies but also of social relationships and everyday events and things. For those who are interested in Congolese society and more generally in Africa, his work is a high-quality anthropological survey. It contains elements of cultural history and journalism – a lively and authentic form of journalism – which is drawn, painted and delightfully written.

In situ