Who are some artists that inspire you?
Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, and Kehinde Wiley
How would you describe your art style?
Can you share your favorite pieces and the story behind them?
THE DREAMER - Coming to the USA proved to be the greatest challenge my family has had to face. Far from family, learning English, and navigating a new city was hard for a family that centuries of roots firmly planted in Tanzania. Our process of assimilation, although slow, proved to be the only solution— we absorbed the dominant culture, to identify ourselves as an ‘American,’ and to blend into our newfound community. We stopped eating with our hands, wearing traditional garments outside of the house, and speaking our mother tongue. Looking back, I regret renouncing my Tanzanian heritage in the hopes of being accepted by the people around me.
"I am working hard to reclaim my roots and this piece is a reflection of that."
UNDERGROUND MURAL - My friend Tiana and I recently painted a mural for the Underground Coffeehouse, a student-run coffee shop at Trinity College. We worked on this from March to the end of May 2020, the most time I've spent on one piece. The Underground Cafe has never wavered from its mission of giving students a comfortable, inclusive, and peaceful space on campus where anyone can get a drink, hang out with friends, or even do homework. I've seen this as both a customer and now employee. We wanted to create a piece that lived up to their mission, as well as, a piece that everyone would enjoy as they walked in.
You seem to primarily focus on female figures, can you share why?
From a technical point of view, drawing women comes easy to me because I can look at myself and get the correct proportions to make my paintings look realistic.
On top of this, there are a ton of inspirational women in my life and my paintings tend to be a reflection of that. For example, in my current project, I am painting an image of my mother from when we were back in Iringa, Tanzania.
If you were to do a round21 paddle or product, what would you do?
I would utilize inspiration from the color green and nature to create my own.