Zemba Luzamba [1979 - ] | DRC | Based in Cape Town, South Africa
Zemba Luzamba’s oil paintings depict African figures engaged in contemplative activities or political ritual. Luzamba portrays an attractive facade of leisure and tedium, revealing little of the seriousness of political and historical context, or of the artist’s conviction and creative process behind the scenes.
Born and raised in the conflict-ridden DRC, Luzamba witnessed politics playing out in the daily lives of ordinary people. He attributes the DRC’s 1990s unbanning of the suit and tie – a gesture towards a new ‘democracy’ and permitting Western cultural influence – as the moment the artist in him awoke.
Overnight, men proudly donned suits that had long been hidden in closets. La Sape, a sub-culture of dandified dressing, can be seen in Luzamba’s subject matter and in his use of paint and colour. His artistic development has integrated a tradition of creative and considered fashion as an act of self-determination, aspiration in an oppressive, impoverished environment, and even of defiance in the face of corrupt, stifling politics.
Zemba Luzamba studied Fine Art in Lusaka, Zambia, at the Evelyn Hone College of Applied Art . He has participated in numerous exhibitions and his work is housed in private collections across the globe.