Shabu Mwangi: The Source of Our Seas

Circle Art Gallery Exhibition, 27 January – 17 February 2020

To view the exhibition on Artsy click here

The Source of our Seas is Shabu Mwangi’s (Kenyan, b. 1985) first solo show since The Stateless at Circle in 2017. This exhibition combines recent paintings alongside a series of poems by the artist.  Shabu has been a practising artist since 2003. His practice focuses on the effects of structural and historical violence, and different forms on marginalization on the individual and collective psyche. Shabu’s paintings are considerations of societal and cultural fissures. His most recent work traces an ongoing personal journey of striving to understand the balance between the two things that drive us, love and pain and how we react in different ways depending on which of the two is dominant. Shabu’s work has previously dealt with questions of collective suffering, and the effects that inequality, marginalization, and other forms of structural violence have on communities. In this new body of work, he has turned his gaze inwards, focusing on an examination of the self. He asks himself questions about how he sees the people around him, and his interactions with them.

“We are all connected to one another, and none of us is truly free from our collective struggles. I have a family, I have a clan, I have a tribe…”

Mwangi has participated in workshops and residency programs both locally and internationally. His most recent exhibitions were The Man with Two Shadows (2020), an online exhibition with Circle Art Gallery, and Yawning for Power, 2019, a solo exhibition with Tilleard Projects. Other shows include: The Stateless and Freedom, Flight, Refuge (2017), Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi; Art Transposition (2017), Nairobi-Kampala-Hamburg (2017), LKB Gallery, Hamburg; Pop-Up Africa, (2017), GAFRA, London; Out of the Slum (2012), Essen, Germany; and various other group and solo exhibitions. He has also participated residencies in Kenya, Germany and Italy. He formed the Wajukuu Art Centre in 2004 with fellow artists to mentor young people in his community of Mukuru and the collective have been selected to participate in the next edition of Documenta in 2022.  Shabu will organize a children’s programme during this exhibition, which will be included in Documenta’s ‘Art in Education’ programme.