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JP Mika, Sango Malamu (la bonne nouvelle), 2019
© Astrup Fearnley Museet
© JP Mika / BONO 2020 - Kleinefenn
Courtesy of the artist and gallery MAGNIN-A
Size: 50 x 70 cm
Born in 1980, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Lives and works in Kinshasa
JP Mika takes an interest in drawing and ornamentation since his earliest age and therefore integrated the painting department of the Kinshasa Academy of Fine Arts. However he also attended ARAP: The Popular Art Research Studio created by the artist Chéri Chérin who later became his Master. There, he improved his skills and became a member of APPO, The Popular Painters Society. In 2004, he established his own Studio and named it EBA, which can be translated as The Events of Fine Arts.
Outstanding draftsman, he has long borrowed the themes and compositions of his elders among which his mentor Cheri Cherin. As Cheri Samba before him, Mika puts himself on stage in his works, painting self portraits or adding his figure in group compositions – most of the time his characters are dressed as “sapeur” (A member of the social movement known as la SAPE, who dress as Dandies).
For the last couple of years, he has developed his own style concentrated on portraits and simplifying his composition by using colourful fabrics that he uses as a background. The daring use of colours provides a positive energy to his works. He now profoundly stands out from his peers.
His realistic paintings are nevertheless benevolent and whatever the subject, he gently and kindly paints a modern, dynamic and happy Africa.