Born of a Congolese father and Belgian (Flemish) mother, artist Kito Mbiango shows a sensibility steeped in both African and European cultural directions, simultaneously. Social justice forms the fabric of his existence. He lived in the Congo as a small child. It was here where his mother nursed countless children to health and where his father, who became the first President of the Supreme Court, headed the drafting the nation’s first Constitution. He bathed in the spirits of darkness in the jungle. He also danced among the souls of the Dutch masters of light, in the idyllic Flemish countryside where he spent the remainder of his childhood. Here he studied geology and explored nature with his beloved grandmother. His father’s tribe, the Kisakata, was matriarchal – so women understandably have always been constellations in his universe. He resided in Miami and New York for over 20 years. He has recently returned to his native Belgium and divides his time between Miami and Brussels.
He draws from his wide-ranging travels and photographic experience in producing works that reflect the infinite dance between nature and humanity - man’s unity and duality. The world of available ideas and image sources are at his fingertips, collected and connected in large-scaled “transfer painting” and sensually appropriated, reflect the collage and assemblage techniques and tendencies of Rauschenberg in the Postmodern era and beyond. His awe-inspiring universal tapestries and digital prints excite the imagination by crossing and blurring cultural borders between Eastern and Western spheres of influence.
Mbiango implicitly understands the importance of finding a visual voice. He does so by a focused meditation on a particular theme as seen in each of his works. He culls source material from vintage photographs, scientific illustrations, cartography and literature. He then transfers these disparate images onto fabric, canvas or wood through a variety of techniques, which evoke ancestral spirits and voyages through time.
His work is both a reflection of history as well as a visceral snapshot into infinity as Mbiango gathers both art and its viewer into a deeply spiritual achievement. His grandmother, “Moeke” trained as a master in the Japanese art of ikebana, opened Kito’s eyes to the geometry of nature, which is central to his work.
The unifying themes of light and resonance bathe in a kaleidoscope of rich complex layering and graphic embellishment of colours, textures, and geometric patterns, which echo the golden spiral of existence. His work speaks nostalgically to the viewer’s primal intelligence by engaging him in a reflection on the infinity of humanity.
Every conceivable culture (in which Mbiango feels he can trace himself) will find its way into Mbiango’s musings, keeping his practice in a consistent state of growth and experimentation.
Kito began his career as a photographer. Over the past 20 years, he has been evolving towards creating original artwork that naturally combines the illustrative elements of photography and painting that unite his disparate cultural influences.
His goal is to celebrate ageless culture and his art brings imagination to reality.
Kito Mbiango was born in Brussels in 1966. He is completely self-taught in his technique and utilizes multiple production methods including image transfer and mixed media assemblage all applied meticulously by hand. His paintings have been featured in publications such as Town & Country Magazine, Architectural Digest, Miami INTERIORS (Tashen) and Luxe Magazine.
Non-profit groups, including UNICEF, Voices United, Haitian Art Relief Fund FOTORELIEF, and HEAL Africa, have also featured Mbiango’s work.