Monsengo Shula, who lives and works in the sprawling urban capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was born in 1959, in Nioki.
Shula started his artist career at the age of 15 as his cousin’s assistant, the well known Moke, the godfather of the “popular painting” and a colourist master. Shula’s narrative paintings directly stemmed from everyday life, are critical, condemn political unfairness, bring awareness and raise population.
Shula distinguishes himself from the other popular painters such as Moke, Chéri Samba, Chéri Chérin, with his characteristic combination of colour.
Shula’s art is occasionally otherworldly, its roots are of course very much down‑to‑earth and African. He is an incurable optimist. “Sooner or later, the world will change, and sooner or later, everyone will have to talk about Africa. It’s not just artistic, it’s political. We’re the biggest continent, we’re the crossroads of the whole world. We have to continue to emerge onto the world stage, and we have everything we need. There’s gold, copper, oil, diamonds, everything we need in terms of natural resources.”