This painting communicates the texture of daily life in Kinshasa, the capital of Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Moké, who painted the scene from memory, was a leading practitioner of “popular painting,” a genre that gathered momentum in Zaïre after the nation gained independence from Belgian rule in the early 1960s. Like other popular painters, Moké focused on city life, documenting Kinshasa’s outdoor bars, high-spirited nightly activities, political rallies, street commerce, and musical performances. In this way, the artist devoted his career to creating rich portraits of a thriving postcolonial metropolis.
Gallery label from 2020