was born Monsenguro Kejwamfi in 1950 in Ibe, Bandundu Province,
Democratic Republic of Congo.
Seen rightly as a painter reporter of city life,
artist Moke was among the leading artists of the school of popular
painting that sprung up in Kinshasa in the first decade of Zaïres
arrived in Kinshasa at the age of ten, living hand to mouth
and day by day. Discovering that there was a market for paintings,
he taught himself how to render landscapes on discarded pieces
of cardboard. In 1965 he painted a picture representing General
Mobutu waving to the crowds as he led the parade commemorating
Independence Day. This composition, which he returned to many
times in later years, launched Mokes career. He set up
a studio at the crossroads of Kasa Vubu and Bolobo avenues,
the district where many billboard and advertising artists worked,
and immersed himself in the daily life of the city from which
he drew his inspiration.
Moke adopted the conventions of commercial art, boldly outlining
his robust figures without concern for likeness or perspective.
Instead, he celebrated the painterly aspects of his art, using
a rich palette and vividly animated compositions. Unlike Chéri
Samba or Cheik Ledy, who were to follow in his footsteps, Moke
rarely depicted social conflict. Rather, his sympathetic and
vivaciously humorous paintings were grounded in his observation
of daily life in Kinshasa: street scenes, bars, the local dandies
known as sapeurs, the powerful Miziki (associations of financially
independent women), all-night parties, neighborhood disputes,
and public ceremonies all found their way into his canvases.