Painting was one of the defining factors in the formation of Congolese national culture during the seventies and eighties. Looking back on works from this era, we gain a clear impression of the country's collective memory. The exhibition of paintings featured in this book explores the development of Congolese society from 1968-2012. Portraits, landscapes and allegorical paintings alternate with urban scenes, historical figures and critical reflections on religion, politics and social problems. Humour is never far away. Historical objects, photos, drawings and archive footage provide a broader perspective, and similarities to older art forms and other genres from Congo are clearly visible. The importance of popular paintings is not fundamentally different from that of more traditionally respected art; both are crucial reflections on their contexts, and informed the development of Congolese society.