Problème d'Eau, 2004
Acryl on canvas
135 x 200 x 4 cm
Courtesy of the artist and CAAC - The Pigozzi collection - Geneva
"Africa’s most “water-rich” country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is facing an acute drinking water supply crisis. Only an estimated 26 per cent of its population has access to safe drinking water, well below the approximately 60 per cent average for Sub-Saharan Africa. Due to the deteriorated state of its water infrastructure – undermined by years of underinvestment and conflict – and a rapidly growing population, the trend in water supply coverage was until recently in regression. Social and public health consequences of water service breakdown have been considerable. The poorest sections of society have been disproportionately impacted by the decline in service delivery and rising water costs, both in rural areas but increasingly in rapidly urbanizing cities."(Excerpt from UNEP's Water Issues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:Challenges and Opportunities - Technical Report)
The work of Chéri Samba is deeply related to the issues of congolese society. With Problème d'Eau the artist focuses on the problem of lack of water, which, as the UNEP's report is exposing, is still in a alarming situation. In his painting, the artist represents himself seated on a space rocket, leaving the earth to go and look for water on Mars, the planet of fire. All the actions seems to be vain and without any sense, underlining to this terrible fact : we are still not able to find the solution to provide water to all the humans being, even though this element is essential to life.
Born in 1956 in Congo. Lives and works in Congo and Paris, France. Chéri Samba is one of the most famous contemporary African artists, with his works being included in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His breakthrough was the exhibition Les Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1989, which made him known internationally. A large amount of his paintings are also found in The Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) of Jean Pigozzi. He was invited to participate in the 2007 Venice Biennale. His paintings almost always include some text in French and Lingala, commenting on life in Africa and the modern world. In 2011/2012 he participated in the following exhibitions : The Global Contemporary Art Worlds After 1989, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Germany and also in JAPANCONGO: Carsten Höller’s double-take on Jean Pigozzi’s collection, Le Magasin, Centre national d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France. His work is part of the Pigozzi Collection, Geneva.