RAPHAEL KALALA LUSENGU was born in Kolwezi on 7 September 1946 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He discovered his artistic talent at an early age. His primary school Head master was among the first to recognize his talent and used his paintings in the school's cheap teaching materials. Six years later, his dream to join the Lubumbashi art college would be crashed by his father's forced retirement from the copper company.
In 1963, Lusengu and his family returned to their home village in Bakwa Mulumba in Kasai. In Gandajika, the young man's talent was rediscovered by the Rev. Jerome Calebaut, a catholic priest, founder of the first Gandajika college. Rev. Jerome Calebaut taught him art for three years. Lusengu was involved in public art exhibitions in the area before leaving to Katanga where he joined his brother. Mpoyi introduced him to local art workshops. In 1970, he took place in a group exhibition organized by the Lubumbashi's Civic Center.
One of the paintings presented in this exhibition was the portrait of Mr. Patrice E. Lumumba. The late former prime minister of Congo. Hence the arrest of the author.
Shortly after his release, Lusengu traveled to Zambia where he met Pr. Moussa Diouf in 1976. Despite his passion of realism, this famous painter influenced the palette knife in Lusengu's technique. He uses more aggressive creativity's in that period before using the Digitalism; Finger work which led him to Pointillism, his favorite technique.
His Art steps are followed by Dr. Jules Rosette Bennetta, Professor at the University of California (USA) who introduced
Lusengu art to the American public trough :
The Symposium of Negro Arts on Washington DC in 1977.
The Annual Conference of the American Anthropological Association in Houston (USA).
The American Congress of Phonetic sciences at the University of Florida at Gainsville.
The Annual Conference of the Association of Popular art at Baltimore (USA).
While in Lusaka (Zambia), he realized many Anti- apartheid paintings to support the black liberation struggle in South Africa.
In 1978, he traveled to Germany where he joined the Wilhelm Thelen private Art College before taking part at a 59 man group Exhibition at Malkasten in Dusseldorf. As a member of the German Society for African Culture, he organized conferences in Born and was awarded a silver medal of Best imaginative artist.
He shared workshops with Professor Formilan Archimede of Italy, Late Professors Heribert Potzunik of Austria, Host Altermman and Wilhelm Thelen of Germany.
He painted portraits of celebrities such as: Muhammed Ali, Georges Foreman, Oprah Winfrey(click here), late President Richard Nixon and many more...
Though Lusengu adore acrylic paint, his favorite material is Oil on canvas.
Lusengu became full time artist in 1966 and has six group and forty seven solo exhibitions done in many African and European countries and USA.
The poor background of this outstanding artist makes him a best friend of poor children .Hence his nickname of "Pere Theresa " It is in that manner that he realized a three meter concrete statue at Kin-Maziere Round about in Kinshasa, depicting a Street Kid. This sculpture was self-financed to remember Soweto victims in South Africa.
Remarkably luxuries are ever absent from Lusengu's paintings. Therefore, he is called "Sad artist" and his natural attitude towards poor people in Africa made him a member of several Human Rights and Philanthropic organizations such as: The Human Rights League,- The International Ministers Fellowship in Florida,- The Christian African Relief Trust of England,- Christian Charity Fund CCF of the Democratic Republic of Congo,- and the Solomon Panagides Fund of Cyprus. Above all, Lusengu is a Honorary Ambassador of the First Children's Embassy in the World Megjashi, Republic of Macedonia.
Both in private and Corporation collection, Lusengu's clients are numerous in DRC, South Africa and abroad.
Married and father of eleven children, the well being of the African children is his priority and final goal. Consequently, his painting stops breathing whenever children's rights are deprived. Hence his exile in South Africa where unfortunately the accidental death of Dr. Frederic Mbiola Tshiseki his younger brother, student and outstanding painter of international celebrity painted a darkest period of Lusengu 's long career.
Sustained by the spirit of God, he hereby breaks silence with NEW CREATION entitled OMEGA boost in remembrance of this Great man of culture.