Pilipili Mulongoy (c. 1914-2007), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Pintades et tisserins

, 20th century

Oil on cotton canvas

31 1/2 x 37 1/4 in. (80 x 95 cm)


About this artwork

Pilipili Mulongoy, who is one of the best-known Congolese artists of the mid-20th century, was born into a family of fishermen in Katanga province in the former Belgian Congo. His first job was working as a house painter for the Public Works Department, but in 1947, he met Pierre Romain-Desfossés, a French former soldier who had founded an art school in Elisabethville (current day Lubumbashi) and was looking for talented young people to attend the school. Pilipili passed the informal entrance exam, and, at the age of 21, he entered the newly-established “Indigenous Native Art Academy”, later known as the Hangar.

In this scene, a guinea fowl and its mate, and two sets of weaver birds, known for the elaborate nests they weave from plant fibers and grass, are standing protectively close to their nests and appear to be looking in the direction of a disturbance.

“Archives of Popular Swahili: **Conversations with the painters Mwenze Kibwanga and Pilipili Mulongoy,” Transcribed, translated, and annotated by Johannes Fabian, University of Amsterdam. Journal of Language and Popular Culture in Africa 13, issue 1, (September 22, 2011).

Cécile Manciaux & Jean-Jules Tshoza Kay. “Peinture : Sara, Mulongoy, Kibwanga… l’influence de l’école de Lubumbashi.” Jeune Afrique. March 18, 2014. Accessed May 3, 2023.

“Weaver Bird.” Encyclopedia Britannica.