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Joe Mukuna (Artist)

posted Jun 21, 2015
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Born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa, Joe's artistic development occurred in Kinshasa - a city known for its rich and vibrant culture in music and visual arts. As a child, Joe absorbed the creative experiences around him and expressed himself through sketches and drawings.

His professional studies at l'Academie des Beaux Arts in Kinshasa refined his technical skills and upon graduation, Joe's contemporary portfolio included a strong pull towards abstract and semi impressionistic figurative works.

In 2012, Joe left his home city of Kinshasa for the first time in order to broaden his artistic experience. After traveling across the region through Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, Joe settled in Kigali where he developed partnerships with local Rwandan artists. By 2013, Joe was at the forefront of a burgeoning art and fashion community recognized both within the region and abroad as a center for new creative opportunity in Africa.

In the spring of 2014, Joe teamed up with American designer Sarah Manion to open Tongo Art Gallery, a contemporary gallery spotlighting Joe's paintings and Sarah's jewelry and accessories. The expat team also partners on highly unique collaborations including painted apparel and handbags.

Joe has also been chosen by the renowned American fashion brand Kate Spade & Company to design and execute three large interior murals at their vendor facility in Masoro, Rwanda. The company was drawn to Joe's poignant representations of the African woman's experience.

In addition to managing Tongo Art Gallery and working with Kate Spade & Co, Joe teaches art at the École Belge in Kigali and provides private and small group lessons to children and adults. Joe is also passionate about music and can often be found singing at the gallery where he maintains his private outdoor studio space.

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