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An advocate of African self-assertion, Steve Bandoma uses his works to denounce a form of globalisation that is jeopardising the continent’s culture. His work revolves around chaos, hybridity and deconstruction.

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© Alain Huart 2016

Born in Kinshasa (DRC) in 1981. He lives in Kinshasa.

Having graduated from Kinshasa’s Académie des Beaux-arts in 2004, Steve Bandoma moved to South Africa, where he began his artistic career and forged his style. After a spell in Paris as an artist-in-residence, he moved back to Kinshasa in 2012. Bandoma quickly made a name for himself, exhibiting his works at the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles and the Institut français, in particular.

Bandoma employs a mix of drawings, splashes of colour, and collages, making for an incredible aesthetic of explosion or rather implosion, chaos and suffering, often against a backdrop of a clash of civilisations. Faces, limbs, body fragments, animated statuettes and fetish all fuse together to bring alive paintings in which surprising creatures feature large.

Bandoma’s work endeavours to be contemporary and universal. However, the themes explored by the artist and the vision developed are a clear reflection of his African identity. Bandoma produces themed series whose titles provide a good insight into the artist’s world: Lost tribes, Enculturation, Abolition, etc. In other words, the relationship with identity, the conflict between tradition and modernity, and the culture clash, are all at the heart of his message. However, his paintings are not lacking in humour or derision.

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