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Pierre Bodo

Master Bodo's Golden Paintbrush 2

Artist

Pierre Bodo
Mandu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1953 – Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2015

Title

Master Bodo's Golden Paintbrush 2

Date

2007

Materials

Acrylic on canvas

Dimensions

164 x 427.5 cm

Credits

Purchase, Hermina Thau Bequest, inv. 2011.201

Collection

International Contemporary Art

The painting of the Kinshasa School, of which Bodo is one of the most illustrious representatives, has played a historic role in Africa: it was through this school that the continent broke into the contemporary art market in the 1980s and came to the attention of the critics discourse with its unmistakeable artistic identity, somewhere between naive art and surrealist imagery. An active member of the burgeoning artistic scene in Kinshasa, along with Chéri Samba and Moké, Bodo converted to Christianity. As a pastor, he preached “World Evangelism” and found a new vocation for his painting. He began to depict, in panoramic compositions, the temptations of sinners led away from the right path. This moral fable about the temptations of sex and the redeeming virtues of art is set in the middle of a verdant forest. The surrealistic scene is peopled by weird, half-human half-animal creatures: at the wheel of a strange vehicle, half-human half-elephant, the driver, in a glassed-in cabin, shines his headlights on an elegant woman. Behind her is a man in a yellow suit and cap. He is a “sapper,” that is, a member of the SAPE, the “Society of Revellers and Elegant Persons,” a Congolese fashion of apparel influenced by the dandyism of the Kinshasa painters. On the right of the painting, the artist himself, all smiles, is holding his paint pots, like a levitating Buddha, seated on his palette and leaning against his brushes.

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