Elias Mung'ora

Mung’ora is a keen observer of lived spaces and the memories of these spaces.   His practice on the surface appears to share glimpses into everyday Nairobi life, whether through momentary cityscapes or alternatively by capturing significant moments such as a wedding or a portrait session.  However, upon further inspection we deduce his commentary on the fragmentation of the urban landscape, where environments are physically and socially distinct from street to street.  His canvases attempt to show both the traces left behind of previous lives and histories, while simultaneously juxtaposing the imbalance of physical spaces and the impact of this imbalance on their inhabitants.

 

Working across mediums, his richly layered canvases demonstrate lived history – incorporating transfers that imbue various historical references, sweeping brushstrokes reminiscent of an attempt to whitewash and refresh spaces, and detailed characters living everyday moments.  In some ways reminiscent of Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s collage works focused on Nigerian-American cross appropriation and adaptation, Mung’ora’s practice attempts to show the hybridization of physical spaces in Kenya, where spaces have adapted over time and been repurposed for antithetical uses.  

 

Mung’ora is a member of Brush Tu, a Nairobi-based artists’ collective, and has participated in several exhibitions including The Ghost in The Machine, Montague Contemporary, USA (2020), Kikulacho, British Institute in East Africa, 2018; Remains, Waste & Metonymy II: Sensing Nairobi, British Institute in East Africa, 2017; Stranger Times, Circle Art Gallery, 2017; Young Guns, Circle Art Gallery, 2017. Solo shows include Journal Entries, Little Art Gallery, 2016. He was the winner of the 2016 Manjano Art Prize in Nairobi, and a top ten finalist in the 2018 edition of the Barclays L’Atelier competition.