Arts & Culture Maplewood

Chishimba Art Exhibit Continues at Maplewood Memorial Library

From the Maplewood Memorial Library:

Although the Maplewood Library’s Ideas Festival was postponed, the work of featured artist Muyambo Marcel Chishimba remains on exhibit at the Main Library.

Chishimba was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo 1950. As a young boy, he was taught to paint by his uncle, an acclaimed artist in Congo. As a young man, Chishimba travelled to neighboring Zambia to further his studies, and exhibited his work in Zambia, Swaziland, and Malawi. In 1993, after the death of his first wife amid extreme conflict in his homeland, Chishimba fled south to the Zambian border as a refugee.

His life as a painter continued sporadically while he lived in a Zambian refugee camp with his family and second wife. Never one to falter in the face of challenges, Chishimba painted and sold portraits and landscapes for nearly 20 years living in the camp, in order to buy enough food to feed his family. His stunning portraiture caught the attention of former Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda during the president’s visit to the camp. Mr. Kaunda arranged for the Chishimba family to move into town in 2010, where Chishimba continued to paint, exhibit his work, and teach budding artists.


Chishimba and his family later applied for resettlement, eventually settling in Elizabeth , New Jersey. He continues his 50+ year career painting abstracts and landscapes with oil on canvas. His bold, dynamic strokes and his unique combination of earthy tones and richly hued colors are inspired by the culture and people of his African homeland.

The work can be viewed at the Main Library at 51 Baker St. from 10 am to 6 pm Tuesdays through Fridays, or can be seen online here. The other Ideas Festival events, meanwhile, are in the process of being rescheduled.

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