I firmly believe that the human experience cannot be separated from nature. Like all living beings, we are intricately intertwined with the natural world, and our connection with it surpasses our understanding and emotions. Through my art, I convey profound emotions, delving into the depths of self-expression.
Inspired by artists like Frida Kahlo and Mark Rothko, I am fascinated by their ability to explore and express the complexities of human emotions. I find solace in deciphering the language of self-discovery, inexplicable feelings, and the ever-changing landscapes of life. My primary focus lies in understanding the concept of personal freedom. I explore the multifaceted experiences of women through my own stories, portraying moments of joy, agony, stoicism, numbness, anxiety, and transcendence from mere survival. As I delve into my own identity, I unravel its significance in my interactions and relationships with others. The overwhelming influence of my immediate surroundings adds depth and dimension to the autobiographical nature of my artistic practice.
In my previous series, "Muffled Voices," I delved into the themes of emotional, mental, physical, and sexual abuse endured by women. It was an ongoing effort to gain a deeper understanding of the pain and suffering that stems from such experiences. Continually seeking to grasp the true essence of personal freedom, I explore the intricate tapestry of women's lives, encompassing various emotional states and the resilience to rise above adversity. These explorations shape my own identity and influence how I engage with others. The overstimulation I often feel from my surroundings further enriches my work, adding complexity to its autobiographical nature.
Textures and the fusion of diverse media are integral to my artistic vision. By doing so, I fully embody the experiences I wish to convey to my audience. I strive to create an immersive encounter where each observer's mind journeys through my artwork, completing the experience in their own unique way. As an experimental artist, I embrace both painting and sculpting, exploring the endless possibilities of materials and techniques. In my recent paintings, I incorporate hidden imagery, inviting viewers to delve deeper into the meanings and pay closer attention to the seemingly insignificant details that surround them. Amidst the chaos of the mind, the concealed personas within my work seek serenity and offer a contemplative perspective on the perpetual anxiety of our world. Symbolic images and carefully chosen colors possess multiple layers of meaning in my artistic expression. Through my sculptures, I utilize materials such as resin, wood, metal, and recycled glass to create tangible representations of my vision.
Art, to me, is a testament to the profound connections between humanity and nature. It allows me to share my emotions, explore the complexities of identity, and ignite conversations about the multifaceted aspects of being a woman. With every stroke and sculpted form, I strive to create a deeply personal and thought-provoking experience for both myself and those who engage with my work.
Her works include a permanent commission ‘Infinity: Flashes of the Past’ for the Nairobi National Museum (2007), and an ephemeral performance installation ‘What’s Wrong Dear Jane’ for the Kenyan Art Fair (2014). She is the recipient of the Centre for Art Design & Social Research fellowship (2018-2020 cycle), the UniArts Helsinki fellowship (2018), the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2017) and the Art in Global Health grant from the Wellcome Trust Fund in the United Kingdom (2013). Artist residencies include PRAKSIS, Norway (2019), CAD+SR Italy & Mexico (2018), HIAP, Finland (2018), Delfina Foundation, UK (2016) and IASPIS, Sweden (2013).
In her curatorial work she has collaborated with Ostrale Centre for Contemporary Art Biennale, Dresden, Germany (2019, 2016) and Goethe-Institute, Kenya (2012, 2010) as well as working with collectives and individual artists in East Africa. Her work is held in a number of private and public collections including the Robert Devereux Collection, London, the Kouvola Art Museum Collection, Finland, and the Nairobi National Museum, Kenya and with the Sindika Dokolo Foundation.
"No longer putting society at the service of art and much less at the service of monopolies of the elite, but instead art at the service of the society, at the service of the weakest, at the service of children, at the service of the sick, at the service of the vulnerable and at the service of all those who cry for the vindication through the spirit of their human condition and raising up of their dignity."
Maestro José Antonio Abreu
Muraguri has been gaining recognition for his imagery of matatus – privately owned vans and mini-buses that are the main mode of public transportation in Kenya - and the culture that has developed around them in his work. Muraguri's woodcut prints reference both Nairobi’s urban culture and international popular culture using graffiti, music and politics depicted on these real-life matatus.
Muraguri received a Diploma in Painting and Art History from the Buruburu Institute of Fine Art (2015), and has been a resident artist at the Kuona Artists’ Collective (formerly the Kuona Trust Art Centre) since 2005.
He has exhibited extensively in Nairobi, including a solo exhibition at Circle Art Gallery, 2016, Jua Kali, 2014, a collaborative installation with Tahir Karmali and Tonney Mugo which went on to be included in Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design at the Vitra Design Museum. He has participated in international art fairs such as 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair, London, 2016, and the Jo’burg Art Fair, 2016. Muraguri was also one of the participating artists in the 2014 edition of the KLA Public Art Festival, in Kampala, Uganda and will be the artist in residence at Espaço Luanda Arte, in Luanda, Angola in 2019.
Kabiru‘s work was included in the seminal travelling exhibition Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, curated by Amelie Klein with Okwui Enwezor, first shown at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany in 2015, and later at The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and then at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) in Spain during 2016. The exhibition was most recently shown at the Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands. Kabiru also featured in AFRICA – Architecture & Identity at the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, Denmark and Beyond Borders, the 5th edition of the Beaufort Triennial in West Flanders, Belgium, both in 2015.
Important group exhibitions include: Concealed Selections from the Permanent Collection at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA; Towards Intersections: Negotiating Subjects, Objects and Contexts at the University of South Africa Art Gallery in Pretoria, South Africa and Lumières d’Afriques, organised by the AAD Fund, at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris, France during 2015.
In 2016, Kabiru was the resident artist at the Han Nefkens Foundation in Barcelona, Spain, where he was also the first artist to participate in the Flow Series talks programme – a joint initiative of the Han Nefkens Foundation and the Antoni Tàpies Foundation. Also in 2016, Kabiru was selected as a featured artist for The ARMORY Show’s Focus Section, African Perspectives, curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba, in New York, USA. His work featured in Brutal Beauty: Violence and Contemporary Design at the MARTA Herford Museum of Contemporary Art in Herford, Germany; Unorthodox, curated by Jens Hoffmann, at The Jewish Museum in New York, USA; and the Climactic: Post Normal Design exhibition at The Carnegie Mellon University School of Design in Pittsburgh, USA.
Cyrus Kabiru was featured in the Gestalten publication titled Africa Rising: Fashion, Design and Lifestyle from Africa. Notable collections include the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in South Africa; the Han Nefkens H+F Foundation in Netherlands; the Lemaître Collection in France and Studio Museum Harlem in USA.
In 2013 he founded Brush Tu Art Studio, an artist collective in Nairobi, alongside two other artists who he would collaborate with on various artistic projects including mural painting and mentoring younger artists. This also marked his entry into professional practice which has seen him exhibiting widely locally and abroad.
He was awarded 2nd prize in the professional artist category of Manjano Art Competition in 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Michael lives and works in Nairobi.
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