Born in 1981 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Lives and works in Kinshasa
Steve Bandoma entered the School of Fine Arts in Kinshasa from which he graduated in 2004. During his studies, he considers that academic creations do not produce anything innovative and rebels against the teaching methods that are too far away from the contemporary popular art that took off outside the school. He is part of the group Librisme Synergy, a branch of the contemporary art movement of Kinshasa Librisme which refuses the theoretical confinement of naturalism and black African art. In 2005, he went to South Africa where he took classes with Kevin McCauley, whom he considers a mentor. He observed the work of Jeff Koons, and admired the innovation of the American avant-garde: "I spent almost a year looking for the right contacts in artistic circles, first in Johannesburg and then in Cape Town. South Africa was exactly where I wanted to be. Every hour, minute, second I spent here inspired me more to become an artist. Yet Steve Bandoma was determined and at the Cape 07/X-Cape festival, the opportunity presented itself. He returned to Kinshasa in 2010: "Culture is a dynamic. Art is a dynamic. Men and artists are a dynamic. Creation is a process"?
The artist expresses himself through different techniques, including sculpture, painting, drawing and collage. He produces his collages from magazine images that he reuses by giving them a new meaning and, as he says, "a new life". The mix of techniques brings a dynamic, aesthetic inspired by the hustle and bustle of Kinshasa and reflecting a constantly changing African society. Through the combination of drawing, splashes of color and collage, Bandoma reflects the implosion, between chaos and humor, against a backdrop of political disarray. Faces, limbs, body fragments, animated statuettes, and fetishes give life to seemingly unbridled and disjointed creations, but in reality they are thoughtful and carefully composed. His works are assembled in series that comment on politics, culture and current events.
Whether through his "Black Code", "Kitsch" or "Ghost" series, Steve Bandoma is working on a new black code, a reappropriation of African history. Playing on the tones of disenchantment, love, humor, the artist exposes a world weighed down by policies that gangrene morals, minds and spirits. The series "Surrounders" in particular, shows an optimistic and positive horizon, a will to change and redirect things.
Harn Museum of Art, Gainsville, USA
Nirox Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa
Fondation Alliances, Casablanca, Morocco
C.A.A.C. collection Pigozzi, Geneva, Switzerland
Collection Farida et Henri Seydoux, Paris, France
Collection Jacques Azibert
The Robert Devereux Collection
Collection Gervanne et Matthias Leridon