Mika, JP
Born in 1980 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Lives and works in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
JP Mika’s early interest in painting advertising boards for a marginal living wage brought him to study painting at the Académie des Beaux-Arts (ABA) in Kinshasa. Graduating in 2007, reputed Congolese painter Chéri Chérin soon became a mentor to Mika, encouraging him to exhibit his work in Bilbao in 2008 and 2009, alongside well-known painters Chéri Samba and Tonton Kabeya. Mika attributes his style to that of Chérin and Samba, considering them both highly influential models. His paintings pivot on narrative scenes: vivid menageries depicting well-dressed public figures and anthropomorphic animals in an acerbic critique of political systems and disingenuous agendas. Group exhibitions include Le Grand Orchestre des Animaux (2016–17) and Beauté Congo –1926–2015 – Congo Kitoko (2015), both held at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris and Folk Art Africain? Créations contemporaines en Afrique subsaharienne, FRAC Aquitaine, Bordeaux (2015).
JP Mika, Lifuta ya motoki na ngai (Le Prix de ma Sueur), 2017, Acrylic on textile, 100 x 150 cm, 78 x 59 in. Courtesy MAGNIN-A