Cyril Kongo and his artwork at the Paris Lariboisière public hospital to thank medics. — Photo courtesy of the artist
PARIS — Paris-based graffiti artist Cyril Kongo has painted new artworks as a message to show gratitude to the frontline medical workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
He chose Lariboisière Hospital, one of the facilities in the city severely affected by the pandemic, as his studio. He sprayed colour paints on the staircases, the wall, the pillars and windows of the hospital.
On his Instagram account, he wrote: "I am so delighted about this project. It was really important for me to be able to contribute. I hope this project brings colours, smile and love to our heroes. Thank you for your devotion."
The large public hospital is located in an area with a sizable working-class and immigrant population. By April, nearly 170 medical staff of the hospital had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The artist was born as Cyril Phan in Việt Nam in 1969 to a Vietnamese father and French mother. Two years after national reunification in 1975, he moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo with his mother, hence he took his artist name of Cyril Kongo.
According to online art magazine Prestige, he held an online auction for his work, L'esentiel, which he completed during social distancing time and donated all the proceedings to fund French hospitals.
Kongo began to do grafitti in Paris in his teenage years and started to be recognised across Europe in 2009.
He has made his signature imprints with Hermes scaves, Chanel Kongo backpacks and Richarrd Mille limited edition watches. A Forbes article said that: "Kongo rewrites the codes of grafitti art and takes viewers where they least expected him". It estimated that Kongo's work sells today for approximately 15,000 euro per square metre. — VNS