SELECTED WORKS BY Kura Shomali
Mixed media on paper
65 x 50 cm
Kura Shomali lives and works in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from which his collagiste approach derives. Evoking the chaos and complexity of this teeming metropolis, the second largest city in Africa, Shomaliâ€™s works appear fragmentary in form, composed of snatches of sights and sounds, embodying the life of the street.
Fleur du Cowboy
Gouache, pen, watercolour, Posca, charcoal on paper
65 x 50 cm
Shomali has talked about depicting â€śpassersbyâ€ť, and each of his figures appears suddenly aware of being seen, spinning on a heel to face and pose for the artist, waggling revolvers that sprout flowers, teetering in dandyish heels, beaming astride a motorbike.
Gouache, chinese pen, Posca, charcoal, ink on paper
122 x 101 cm
And yet even the figures themselves are, in a sense, collaged, many deriving from images by celebrated African photographers Seydou Keita, Samuel Fosso and Malick SidibĂ©, suggesting that the poses we see are learned ones, part of an alphabet of swagger.
Ballpoint pen, Posca, gouache, chinese ink on paper
105 x 75 cm
Shomaliâ€™s images depict types, their faces obscured by collaged clusters or transfigured into symbols (globes, eyes, patterns), to create a collective portrait of a city where public behaviour is a matter of received visual cues, like trying on a new coat. And when his figures let their guard down, as in Untitled (Boxeur), they seem bamboozled, off-guard, blinking in the headlights.
Collage, Posca, gouache, charcoal, pen, ink on paper
117 x 150 cm
Text by Ben Street