(b. 1983, Democratic Republic of Congo)
Kabeya challenges his medium of paint and canvas, pursuing new and experimental ways to create texture, depth and balance of colour. He glues layers of canvas together which he then cuts, carves and sculpts before painting. He finishes the work with transfers from newspaper, carefully positioned to indicate the three-dimensional qualities of fabric. He then carefully applies a deep brown walnut powder (an old method of staining wooden furniture) to render skin, as well as to balance the overall tonality of the work.
Inspired by architecture and design, Kabeya's practice seeks balance in composition, line and colour. He creates portraits of people and cities alike, bustling street scenes and tender exchanges between individuals. His recent works have focused on rhumba dancing, inspired by the dance studios and clubs frequented by the artist. The rhumba music is of Cuban origin, Cuba having an important historical link to Africa through the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the rhumba dance gained enormous popularity in the Congo during the 1960's and 70's – in recognition of its cultural significance, the Congolese Rhumba was recently added to UNESCOs intangible heritage list.