International Street and Visual Artists
Mwamba Chikwemba, Zambia
A self-taught visual artist, Mwamba developed an interest in art when she was at high school. Her path to the art industry was not straight forward however. After finishing High School she completed a diploma in Public Administration and worked as a till operator for Pick n Pay, before dedicating her life to painting. Although history knows of similar examples, it is remarkable to observe how a young female fights for her right to be recognized as a young professional and as an artist in general, in the Zambian male dominated society.
Her challenging story becomes a subject of her art. In her creative process, Mwamba focuses on women’s identity in a place where social norms prevail and female roles are strictly defined. She wants her portrait paintings to be seen as a collective image of African women who have power, courage and wisdom to follow their own goals. Mwamba was recognised for her persistence in 2016, when she was selected to compete in the prestigious Barclays L’Atelier. This was no small feat, competing against some of Africa’s leading artists.
Sparrow is a Ugandan street artist, photographer, beat maker, hip hop teacher and dancer. He uses the art form of graffiti to promote change and unify voices through spreading knowledge, as well as creating beautiful spaces for the community.
Visit the city of Kampala, and you are sure to spot the name ‘Sparrow’ as you make your way through the bustling city streets. Kampala’s visual arts culture is continuously evolving, and Sparrow has been central to this growth, founding Uganda’s first street art festival: AFRI-CANS. The festival brings together street artists from across East Africa as well as a number of visiting European artists, youth, DJ’s, MCs and break dancers for a day of creativity and peace using art as the guide.
A community builder and artivist, Sparrow joins a collective of young East African artists pushing the boundaries and calling for change. Watch this space.
Papa Shot It, Uganda
Papa’s photography explores the boundary between art and documentary. His art practice aims to peel off the layers of the viewers’ preconceptions that often camouflage his subjects, so that he can document them in their unabridged form.
Through committed research, he uncovers what lies underneath a layman’s perception of the issues surrounding his subjects. He then dialogues with the subjects to assimilate their character, their very essence. Finally by building an intimate relationship with his subjects, he is able to capture his subjects’ integrity through the lens, that inner beauty which is a fusion of their dignity and vulnerability.
His work has been shown in Uganda, Kenya (Kuona Art Trust Nairobi), India (Just Another Photo Festival), Netherlands (Norderlicht Photo Festival, Framer Framed (Amsterdam), Switzerland (Neusicht Art Festival) and Germany (Millerntor Gallery); and further been featured on websites and blogs around the world. He works and lives in Kampala, Uganda.
Fatric Bewong, Ghana
An interdisciplinary Artist and Art Educator who uses craft, fashion, site specific performances, site specific installations and community to address environmental issues. Working with post-consumer plastic goods, textile scraps, thread, scissors, and needles, Fatric manipulates their intrinsic qualities to address pressing concerns of the modern world, including ecological destruction, political power, world economic order and cultural authenticity.
She has predominantly focused her practice on waste materials found on the coastline of Ghana, where she recycles the plastics collected into hand-stitched permanent or temporary costumes. They are then used for site-specific performances. Her performances though sometimes shocking, are meant to jostle the public into reconsidering the consequences of human action/inaction on the environment.
Fatric has exhibited in the USA, Germany, Nigeria and Ghana. Her works are also included in the collections of Institute of African Studies, Dei Center for Contemporary African Studies, Artists Alliance Gallery, and Foundation for Contemporary art Ghana.
Thufu Bebeto, Kenya
Bebeto Ochieng, better known as Thufu-B is a master of lines. Graffiti circles have fondly dubbed him the “Lines man”. He is one of the founding members of BSQ crew, a street art group based in Kenya’s Capital, Nairobi. His work focuses mainly on African females. Notably, portraits with African patterns on the background finnishing with lines that create faces. These portraits mostly focus on traditional African Cultures. Also, he has a special bias for BBW which is Big Beautiful Women, given his fascination for the African Woman’s features. As he puts it, “Female poses are more fluid, more loving. They inspire the best out of my creativity”
Thufu-B is also part of the growing collective of East African street artists using graffiti artwork to foster peace, tolerance, and social cohesion. Historically, a symbol of rebellion or resistance, street art hasn’t always been welcome or appreciated. This sentiment however is changing across East Africa, and along with artists who have previously been involved in the Sanaa project; Bankslave, Swift9, Kaymist, Wise Two and Smokillah, Thufu B and his counterparts are leading this charge.