Lawrence ‘Shabu’ Mwangi (Kenyan, born 1985)
Child Has a Shield, 2017
Signed ‘Shabu Mwangi 2017’ (lower right)
Mixed media on canvas
93 x 91.5 com
Provenance: direct from the artist
Child Has a Shield was created by Shabu Mwangi as part of a series of work developed whilst on a fellowship in Berlin. For five months the artist spent time with asylum seekers, listening to their accounts of the journey to Europe. The paintings he made grew out of this exchange – “It is my experience and their stories”, Mwangi explains (in interview with Don Handa, 2017). Displayed together in a solo exhibition, titled The Stateless, these moving paintings explore simple ways to depict the complex encounters that occur as individuals try to integrate into a new culture.
A practising artist since 2003, Mwangi uses painting to delve deep into human emotions and experience. He lives and works in Mukuru slum, where he co-established the Wajukuu Art Project in 2013 with a conviction that combining his art with social work could highlight the lives of the disadvantaged minorities in his community.
Mwangi’s exhibitions include the solo exhibition The Stateless, Circle Art Gallery, 2017; Freedom, Flight, Refuge, Circle Art Gallery, 2016; Pop-Up Africa, GAFRA, London, 2014; and Out of the Slum, Essen, Germany, 2012. He has worked in socially engaged projects Art2be and Hope Worldwide.