“It has definitely been surprising, I was really taken aback," commented Mulanga on the invitation to be featured in Gucci's latest campaign. "I'm only now digesting what has happened and starting to understand the impact of my work and how different it is.”
Mulanga gained attention during the COVID lockdowns of the past years using Latitudes' online platform to showcase her paintings, depicting women trapped in interiors, that particularly resonated with people at the time.
Since then, her visibility and marketability have steadily increased, culminating (for now) in the form of this partnership with Gucci.
She has been given the task to create a painting "Moment" featuring the bag that was made popular by and later named after Princess Diana.
Moment, the artwork created as a collaboration between Cinthia Sifa Mulanga and Gucci to celebrate the iconic Gucci Diana tote bag
Mulanga's paintings evoke a modern take on some renaissance canons, an influence she has always admitted to. Her love of perspective is a key feature of her works, a basis onto which she adds her ideas and concepts, rooted in African culture, celebrating blackness as her ideal of beauty.
She elaborates on this idea, stating that: "The (traditional) Barbie doll was my primary (point of) reference. Growing up there were few references of black women, so we had no role models to look up to that allowed us to feel beautiful. I wasn’t able to see someone in popular culture that looked like me. It made me aware that more black women needed to be represented"
After going through a difficult youth, fleeing from the Congo civil war, taking refuge in South Africa with her family, where she suffered from discrimination, at times fearing to even speak, she seems to have found peace and expression through her artistic gift and it is certain that Cinthia Sifa Mulanga is not done making a name for herself.
The artist is represented by the gallery African Arty.