Culture / Art Republik

Cyril Kongo: The Man of Letters Returns to Singapore

French street artist Cyril Kongo is back in another live studio exhibition happening at The Mill between 6 to 11 October 2022.

Oct 04, 2022 | By Karen Rubenstein Lorato

The French iconic graffiti artist, Cyril Kongo is a man who loves words and understands the potency of poetry. He creates and delivers his distinctive works of art with transcendent messages of love and the joy of living.

One might not initially associate street art and graffiti with sentimentality and poetry, yet where would either art form be without the beauty and variation of their lexicon? Often, the dazzling colours and contemporary lettering distract from the powerful messaging and sometimes historical references within Kongo’s canvases. “I have long been influenced by the poet Baudelaire. He was a man often misunderstood in his lifetime, I feel there are similar experiences amongst artists of every generation.” In a similar vein, graffiti and street art are no exception.

It is interesting to note that Baudelaire wrote, “beauty always has an element of strangeness”. The artist’s job is to hold up “pure mirrors” and reflect what may or may not be considered beautiful or more importantly, relevant to society. “Even when I was young, painting outside on walls and getting arrested, I tried to explain to the police that I was giving something to the city, to the community, that my graffiti and my messages had value,” shares the artist of his younger days when he first started out. Through his singular vision, Kongo has certainly helped to break the early aversion to urban art.

Recently, he has taken his use of letters to a new level in developing his first NFT project “Alphabet Safari”. His furry friends were created with care and affection. “Letters are the core of my existence. More than 30 years on the street, my letters helped me evolve from a shy street artist to an activist of street art,” Kongo continues. Today, he has been able to transform his style and messages into a portfolio of astounding collaborations and ever-evolving creativity.

Although he is best known for his earlier projects with Hermès, Richard Mille, Chanel and Pinel Pinel, he has recently invigorated the motor world by transforming a Maserati into a brighter, sexier vision of speed as well as painting an ACJ Two Twenty jet! Although the man, and everything he creates, oozes an easy but edgy-cool style, there are poetic and resonating messages of love, beauty, diversity and humour behind all that he does.

In November 2019, Kongo came to Singapore for a one-month pop-up studio show titled “Les Ephémères” (The Ephemeral). Essentially, it was a working studio where people could stop by and not only view and purchase the brightly textured canvases but meet the artist himself. “I just loved my time in Singapore! I was inspired by the generosity of the people and the diversity of the city, the food… unfortunately, due to Covid-19 I have not been able to return earlier. I really look forward to being back in Singapore and sharing my new stories, my new canvases.”

Singapore will be very lucky to share in Kongo’s poetic universe of letters again in the exhibition happening between 6 to 11 October 2022 at The Mill. For more information and appointments, please contact

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