“Emmanuel Makonga, whose paintings of village life in the Congo are now on view at Art Access Gallery, has lived a turbulent life. A Congolese comic book artist and political cartoonist, he knows well the struggle for democracy, has survived terror to challenge repression, has fought to conquer injustice and reached out to the world to plead for preservation of the environment. This type of activism in one of the most violent countries of Africa was not easy and led to an exile that eventually brought Makonga to the United States. His quiet and idyllic watercolors on exhibit at Art Access may seem a far cry from the political satire that took on one of the world’s bloodiest dictators, but they are still part of this artist’s interest in social concerns. Makonga, in his soft-spoken voice, conveys his faith in his country, saying that “When people think of Africa they think of only war and disease and poverty, but we have something to give and to teach people. When you go to the village you find only peace…”
Read Ehren Clark’s profile of Emmanuel Makonga in the May 2009 edition of 15 Bytes.