africanah.org

Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Thadde Tewa

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Jelili Atiku: Performance Artist & Activist

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To those who aspire to performance in Africa, I would like to tell them that it’s not new. Performance has been our ancient practice for a longer time. Just do it because it’s in our DNA. For those who are not Africans, they need to accept that it’s the purest artistic form. It has no divine methods, rules and regulations. Everything depends on you and you decide how you want the audience to see you. If you choose to use your body as a material, believe that it’s meaningful and very important.

Thadde Tewa in conversation with Jelili Atiku
Red Day (detail), 2017 (see note 1)

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Onyis Martin

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I have always considered Onyis Martin as a big name– more so than any other Nairobi contemporary artist I’m familiar with- perhaps because I find his work to be so unique and intriguing, so charged with time and bearing the daily Nairobi urban life stories and politics.

Thadde Tewa on Onyis Martin
Onyis Martin in the studio with his “What is the new normal?” series | Kobo Trust, Nairobi | Photo: Eric Gitonga | 2020

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Prina Shah

Prina-Shah-Inner-Whispers-XVII-2019

She shares with me her findings that we humans not only have a body but also a mind and energy. The mind is a muscle; it needs care just like the body. The question is what do we feed it with? And what does this state look like? Whatever we are thinking inside reflects or vibrates out of us. Prina shares this questioning and experience in her work.

Thadde Tewa, Nairobi, meets the Kenyan artist Prina Shah
Inner Whispers XVII, 2019

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Agnes Waruguru

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I would say my practice is centered around me trying to understand myself, the world I’m living in, where I’ve come from and how my identity is affected by all the places that I navigate and move through.

Thadde Tewa on the Kenyan artist Agnes Waruguru
Photo: courtesy the artist

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David Thuku, Still-in-Motion

DavidThukuObserver III

Since my college days, I’ve been experimenting a lot with different materials. To me, each idea normally chooses its own material. In the last 5 years, I’ve been experimenting with paper. For this body of work, paper was the perfect material. I wanted to work with layers. The idea isn’t about the completeness of works but the process. This includes the physical creation process. And the process of these characters was more based on layers.

Thadde Tewa in conversation with David Thuku from Kenya.
Observer III, 2016, Courtesy of One Off Contemporary Art Gallery, Nairobi

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