Lawrence ‘Shabu’ Mwangi: The Stateless

Lawrence ‘Shabu’ Mwangi: The Stateless

Lawrence ‘Shabu’ Mwangi is an artist in search of individual and collective healing. In The Stateless, his first solo exhibition since 2015, Shabu recalls his interactions with asylum seekers whilst on a fellowship in Berlin. Listening to their accounts of the journey to Europe and life as stateless people, these works narrate the experience of transitioning between cultures, losing one’s sense of place, and struggling in a country that does not always recognize their humanity. The Stateless includes a soundscape created in collaboration with Johannes Helberger, a Berlin-based composer.

The artist who has known hard times mixes his art with social work and the daily struggles of those he tries to help. He interacts with his community and imbues their issues within his work, bringing hope and inspiration to them. When not making his own art, Shabu spends time with children with disabilities offering them basic counseling and therapy through art. In 2005, he started a group known as the Wajukuu Art Project. Mwangi has held three solo shows in Nairobi, and also exhibited in a group show at the Kenyan Embassy to the United States.

Shabu Mwangi was born in 1985 and began practicing art in 2003. He lives and works in Mukuru slum where his established the Wajukuu Art Project in 2013 with a deep conviction that his work could highlight the lives of the disadvantaged minorities in his community. Deeply concerned by society’s inequality and our lack of empathy for people with different social, political, ethnic and religious beliefs, his work seeks to examine human behaviour and our collective amnesia.

Lawrence ‘Shabu’ Mwangi: The Stateless runs until October 20, 2017 at Circle Art Gallery, Kenya.

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