Lot 5
  • 5

Eddy Ilunga Kamuanga

5,000 - 8,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Eddy Ilunga Kamuanga
  • Elongated Head
  • signed and dated 2014 (on the reverse)
  • acrylic on canvas
  • 150 by 120cm., 59 by 47½in.
  • Painted in 2014


Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in 2014


London, Saatchi Gallery, Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America, 2015, illustrated in the catalogue p. 103

Catalogue Note

On the banks of the Congo River sits the capital city of Kinshasa, the third largest city in Africa and home to Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga. Troubled by the rapid post-colonial modernization of his bustling city, this young artist began to explore the effects of this growth on the traditions and heritage of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Mangbetu people from the north-eastern Orientale province of the DRC, known for their elongated heads (the result of a traditional practice performed at birth using cloth bandages) and their rich artistic and musical traditions, are also central to the artist’s practice. Kamuanga Ilunga produces work that documents both the history and uncertain future of this Congolese community.

Like many of his recent works, Elongated Head is an example of the artist’s attempt at combining the story of the rapid modernization of Kinshasa with the resulting uncertain sustainability of the traditions and broader heritage of traditional groups like the Mangbetu people.  Sitting with her knees pulled up to her chest and elongated head on her arms, perhaps in a state of sorrow or slumber, the artist tattoos his subject’s skin with his trademark patterning, a nod to today’s digital age. These modern figures are counterbalanced by the artist’s incorporation of Mangbetu textiles and objects, which act as a sort of relic of Mangbetu craft and heritage.

After graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Kinshasa in 2009, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga sought to distance himself from further formal education, establishing M’Pongo, a collective of young artists from Kinshasa, shortly after leaving school to promote further artistic development in himself and others.  M’Pongo seeks to help young artists from the DRC develop a unique and creative style. Kamuanga Ilunga has participated in a number of overseas exhibitions including Dak’Art: The Biennale of Contemporary African Art in 2014.