I grew up in a neighbourhood next to Kibera, so even as a child I found some joy looking for treasures in heaps of trash with my childhood friends. I would then take these objects back home and tell elaborate stories about them. So using found objects has always been a norm.
Author: Thadde Tewa
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)
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
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
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.