<strong>Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga</strong>, <em>Untitled</em>, 2016. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm.<strong>Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga</strong>, <em>Oubliez le passé et vous perdez les deux yeux</em> (detail), 2016. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm.

EDDY KAMUANGA ILUNGA

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga.
Photo: © Jonathan Greet, 2016.
Eddy Kamuanga Illunga, Palm, 2016.
Acrylic and oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.


Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1991, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga studied painting at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Kinshasa. While the strict, almost 19th-century style of formal figuration that has been taught at the Académie since its colonial-era founding allowed the artist to develop sophisticated painterly skills, ultimately, he found its program conceptually stifling, and abandoned his studies there, in 2011. Though there was little in place supporting that decision, he quickly aligned himself with other artists to establish M’Pongo, a group studio where a diverse set of young artists shared ideas and exhibited together to generate their own vibrant scene, which tapped into the high-energy creativity of contemporary Kinshasa.

Kamuanga Ilunga explores the seismic shifts in the economic, political and social identity of the DRC that have taken place since colonialism. Increasingly globalised, there is a sense in the DRC that some of its people are rejecting its heritage, a conflict that fuels Kamuanga Ilunga’s work.

His large-scale figurative compositions possess a depth of historical understanding, with a striking and sophisticated interplay of the intensity of space juxtaposed with emptiness. The listless figures seem to mourn the loss of their traditional cultures, their bright fabrics hanging limply from their bodies, their hands clutching ritual objects whose functions seem less and less apparent. For his latest project, Kamuanga uses the history of the Kongo Kingdom to reveal the legacy of its leaders and examines the impact this has had on contemporary Congolese society. These new works feature objects such as porcelain used by early Portuguese traders as well as pottery, such as Toby jugs, which later entered the trade routes in the Kongo Kingdom for the trade of slaves. In this body of works, Eddy pays tribute to the slaves and ancestors who resisted this human trafficking by presenting a vision of the socio-political landscape of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

October Gallery held Kamuanga Ilunga’s first solo exhibition in 2016, quickly followed by a second successful solo exhibition in 2018. In 2017, Kamuanga Ilunga’s work was included in the exhibition African-Print Fashion Now! at the Fowler Museum, UCLA, touring to Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee, and Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina. His work has been exhibited internationally at institutions including Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Kunsthaus, Graz, Austria; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK; Saatchi Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK. His work is in important private and public collections including: Private Collection Laurence Graff OBE; Zeitz Collection of Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa; the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, USA; Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, USA; the Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa; and Scheryn Art Collection, Cape Town, South Africa.

In association with Gabriela Salgado


 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS



 

SELECTED WORKS





 

EDDY KAMUANGA ILUNGA

Born in 1991, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Lives and works in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo and in Brussels, Belgium.
Education
2009   Graduated from Esfora High School, Kinshasa, (D.R.C.)
Selected solo exhibitions
2018   Fragile Responsibility, October Gallery, London, UK
2016    Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, October Gallery, London, UK
2015   Bala Bala (Street), Kinshasa, DRC
Selected group exhibitions
2020   Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York, USA (online edition) 
2019   Global Contemporary: A Focus on Africa, Dorothy and Churchill Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA
Life Through Extraordinary Mirrors, October Gallery, London, UK
Dream No Small Dream: Celebrating 40 Years of the Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York, USA
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, UK 
2018   Congo Stars, Kunsthaus Graz - Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria
Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century, Frist Art Museum, Tennessee, USA touring to Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, USA
Summer Exhibition, Egmont Palace, Brussels, Belgium
Gender, Power, and Creativity: The Josef Floch Memorial Collection, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, USA
EXPO Chicago, Chicago, USA  
African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Tennessee, USA touring to The Mint Museum, Charlotte, USA
Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa with October Gallery, London, UK
Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
2017   A conversation between collections from Kinshasa and Ostend, Mu.ZEE, Oostende, Belgium
AKAA (Also Known As Africa), Paris, France with October Gallery, London, UK
I Want! I Want! Art and Technology, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK
Young Congo, Kas Kin ArtStudio, Kinshasa, DRC
249th Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
Frieze New York, New York, USA with October Gallery, London, UK
Art Paris Art Fair, Paris, France with October Gallery, London, UK
Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa with October Gallery, London, UK
African-Print Fashion Now! A Story of Taste, Globalization, and Style, Fowler Museum, UCLA, California, USA
Beautiful Africa, Galerie du 5ème, Marseille, France
2016   African Perspective: Armory Show, New York, USA with October Gallery, London, UK
Afrik’Expo, The Nomad, Libreville, Gabon
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House, London, UK with October Gallery, London, UK
2015   Miroir – Effacement, Galerie Imane Farès, Paris, France
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House, London, UK with October Gallery, London, UK
Entre Nous, Espace Lylas, Kinshasa, DRC
Focus Africa, Summa Contemporary, Madrid, Spain
Pangaea II, New Art from Africa and Latin America, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
2014   YANGO Biennale OFF, Biennale of Kinshasa, Kinshasa, DRCw
Congo(s) esthétique en partage, au-delà de la géographie, Biennale de Dak’Art Off, Dakar, Senegal with Les Ateliers Sahm, Brazzaville, Congo
Dak’Art Biennale; Dak’Art OFF, Dakar, Senegal
2013   Master Art 1, Kas Kin ArtStudio, Kinshasa, DRC
2012   Le monde des flamboyants, Banque TMB, Kinshasa, DRC
French Institute, Brazzaville, Congo
Congo(s) esthétique en partage, au-delà de la géographie, French Institute, Congo with Les Ateliers Sahm, Brazzaville, Congo
2009   Festival international des étoiles, Kinshasa, DRC
Residencies and Prizes
2018   Research residency, Kunsthaus Graz - Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria
2017   Research residency, Musée Tervuren, Brussels, Belgium
2016   Research residency, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France
2014   Master Art 2, workshop at Kas Kin ArtStudio,Kinshasa, DRC
Residency at M’PONGO’s Space, Kinshasa, DRC
IFAA Prize, the Netherlands,
Yango Biennale,Kinshasa, DRC
2013   Master Art, workshop at Kas Kin ArtStudio,
Kinshasa, DRC
2012   Rencontre internationale d’artcontemporain, Les Ateliers Sahm, Brazzaville, Congo
Public Collections (selected)
Hood Museum of Art, Hanover,
New Hampshire, USA
Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio, USA
Tiroche DeLeon Collection, Gibraltar
Scheryn Art Collection, Cape Town, South Africa
Mott-Warsh Collection, Flint, Michigan, USA
Saatchi Collection, London, UK
Banque TMB, Kinshasa, DRC
Fondation Gervanne and Matthias Leridon, Paris, France
Zeitz Collection of Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa
SPF Affaires étrangères, Brussels, Belgium
Norval Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa  

OCTOBER GALLERY ARTISTS