A Congolese born narrative painter, curator, and mural artist, Bayunga Kialeuka grew up in Miami (USA), where he worked as an artist before moving to other US cities, all the while variably travelling to DRC. His work focuses on themes of social realism, investigating society through the prismatic lenses of economic ecosystems, race and cultural identity.
While in the USA, the artist started working along the lines of classicism and modernism to represent his immediate urban surroundings, focusing on the African American context. From his point of view as a perpetual immigrant, Kialeuka’s work translates how Black America is still subdued by these three dimensions of poverty, racism, and communitarianism. In this light, his paintings strive to restore the pride of those he sees as inescapably second-class citizens.
Bayunga Kialeuka currently works on an ensemble of portraits and figurative depictions of protest, domestication, and status in Kinshasa (DRC). This expanded series further compares the hierarchical temperament of Kinois (indigenous Kinshasa residents) at home and abroad to scale concepts of escapism and utopia in the face of pauperisation’s stigmas. Currently living and working in Brussels (Belgium), the artist’s drawings and paintings now start shaping a triangular representation of contemporary pan-Africanism aiming to deconstruct our accepted understanding of wider African history to make place for new perspectives into how Africans and Afro descendants are shaping a truly global society.
Having painted numerous large murals as a way to engage with contemporary history and local society in the USA, Kialeuka also worked as a curator and producer of art exhibitions. His compositions are technically influenced by various painters, photographers, filmmakers, writers, musicians, and philosophers alike. Among them are Palmer Hayden, Moké, Tupac Shakur, Claude Brown, Franco Luambo, Lucian Freud, Romare Bearden and Eric Monte.