Exploring Concepts Through Painting

Mwaba Marie Chandia

Award Recipient

ECU Graduation Awards for Anti-Racism and Social Justice – Visual Arts – Honourable Mention

“Where the Weird Things Are”

This series of acrylic paintings is a contemporary, afro-futuristic approach to portraiture which springs from my interest in further exploring the interconnected relationship between nature & people. This developed from an already existing series of mine titled ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, which also explores issues of display & repatriation. Essentially, the purpose of this body of work is to reimagine what the future might look like within an African context where women, insects and plants are at the focal point. The concept highlights the close relationship indigenous people of Africa have always had with the earth/nature in the past and still maintain today throughout the continent. Additionally, my interest in combining different living things to create new, bizarre beings springs from watching my parents use somewhat unorthodox objects in their own artistic practices throughout my childhood in Zambia. I grew up watching them use objects like animal bones, seed pods, shedded snake skin, flattened chameleons, beeswax and many other peculiar things, to create the most incredible works and so to have developed that same interest within my own practice has added a richness that I hope reflects in the work.

Where the weird Things Are 1, acrylic on canvas, 140 x 100cm

Mwaba Marie Chandia

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Mwaba Marie Chandia is a visual artist of Zambian and Canadian decent. Her work explores notions of personal and shared identity, culture, and how these ideas are impacted by her surroundings, experiences as well as social issues. She works mainly with acrylic on canvas and women are a central aspect of her artistic practice. Mwaba uses what she sees around her in her day to day life; people, their hairstyles, chitenge fabric, plants, insects etc. 
What she hopes for her body of work is that it pushes forward questions and conversations within her community and in diasporic groups that resonate with the images she creates. Aside from it being a celebration, Mwaba also hopes that her work contributes to an accurate and joyful representation of her culture and the incredible women who exist within it whilst also questioning the way we view black bodies today in media, fashion, art etc.

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