Born in 1988 in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Amani Bodo is son of the well-known artist Pierre Bodo, one of the founders and key exponents of the Zaire School of Popular Painting.
This artistic movement, initially practiced on sacks attached onto the canvas and displayed on the streets, was born in the seventies of the 20th century in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The movement was described by the founding artists as something that comes from the people and is for the people, thus expressing their interest in the imaginaryderiving from daily life and popular culture.
The nature of Popular Painting, mainly figurative and descriptive, is visceral and complex as it criticizes the social and political life of the African community, often with a vein of cynicism and irony, addressing issues such as wars, sexuality and the daily situations that the African people find themselves living in.
Amani Bodo takes his cue from the popular life of his native land. However, unlike the founders (Pierre Bodo, Chéri Cherin, Chéri Samba and Moke), Amani Bodo deviates from the representation in comics style in favour of metaphorical and allegorical painting, rich in symbolism.
The artistic language of Amani Bodo is decidedly more innovative and evolved than that of his masters, being characterized by a deeper psycho-intellectual analysis and by a peculiar technique, even more complex and detailed, called in lingala “Mwangisa”, a sort of “dripping” on the canvas.
Working on a scheme with predetermined measures, his approach to painting is almost scientific because Amani Bodo does not use words to explain history, as in a comic. On the contrary, the artist creates enigmatic images to narrate important events and themes. This visions are often surrealistic, never predictable, which often fascinate and at the same time displace the observer, who has the aim to read and resolved the message and the concept, unveiling the enigma and the surreal.
Within Amani's conception of art, culture occupies a central role, described as the luxuriant flower of humanity, which is at the basis of today's society. Not only that: culture is the lifeblood from which each of us is nourished, inspired and decides to contemplate.
For Amani it is essential to always remember that it does not matter where you are in the present. On the contrary, it is important to remember where you come from, and therefore, what your history and reality was and what characteristics accompany each of us. The multi-ethnicity within Amani's works highlights this concept since each of us carries a different culture, a story behind us that is unique, and that derives from a specific people and reality.
Solo and group exhibitions (selection):
2021: Amani Bodo - Journey into the African neo-surrealism, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan,Italy; Africa Universe, Part II Primo Marella Gallery, Milan, Italy; 2020: Africa Universe - Chapter 3, The art of storytellers. The continuation of the tradition: from Chéri Cherin to Amani Bodo, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan; 2019: Africa Universe - Chapter 1, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan / AKAA Art Fair Paris, France; Kinshasa Chroniques Musée des arts modestes, Sète, France / Congo paintings, Musée africain de Namur, Namur, Belgique; 2016: Amani Bodo Tambola malembe, Espace Texaf-Bilembo, Kinshasa, RDC; 2014: Kin-Babi Cécile Fakhoury Gallery, Abidjan; 2011: JapanCongo Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia; JapanCongo Magasin Grenoble France; 2010: Africa? Una nuova storia, Complesso del Vittoriano, Roma, Italy.
In 2020 Amani Bodo was awarded by Maxy-Agency as the best artist of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for defending the honor of his Country, both nationally and internationally.