Art x Lagos 2019, Circle Art Gallery

Miska Mohmmed (Sudanese, b. 1995)

Miska Mohmmed works predominantly in acrylics, combining material experimentation with an exploration of the sensual experience of landscape. Mohmmed trained as a painter and for a long time, practiced painting en plein air, guided by her experience of the atmosphere in nature, Khartoum where she lives, is on the confluence of the Blue and the White Nile. Mohmmed renders landscapes, which remain the focus of her painting practice, as a semi-abstract series of sweeping horizontal lines, whose direction, colour and varying density approximate the terrain from which they are drawn.

Mohmmed received a BFA in painting from Sudan University’s department of fine and applied art in Khartoum in 2016. She has participated in workshops and exhibitions in Kenya, Sudan, and Tunisia, including a joint exhibition at the Rashid Diab Arts Centre in Khartoum (2017), and Khartoum Contemporary, at the Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya (2017). She was one of the artists included in the 2018 edition of the Art Auction East Africa and participated in, and painted murals for the Burrullus International Symposium in Cairo in 2019.

Henry ‘Mzili’ Mujunga (b. 1971)

In this ongoing body of work, Henry ’Mzili’ Mujunga deals with the ways in which we see ourselves in the world. Splicing different spaces and packing them with numerous symbolic objects. These compositions, draw on personal experiences to illustrate the tensions and contradictions of self-identification. Mzili’s characters find themselves in multidimensional spaces; Fruit Market, for example, features wrestlers in front of a fruit-seller’s cart looking over Naguru Hill in Kampala, with vibrant flora flanking them on the right, and the starry purple haze of outer space above. His subjects present some internally held notion of themselves, while their settings, boundless and undefined, hint at unlimited possibilities, but also futility.

Mzili graduated from the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial Fine Art (MTSIFA) at Makerere University, Kampala with a BA in Fine Art in 1996 and has a postgraduate diploma in Education also from Makerere. In 2003, Mzili won an Art Scholarship from the Royal Overseas League. He has exhibited extensively in galleries in East and West Africa and showed with Circle at the 1:54, New York art fair, 2019. Mzili is a co-founder of the Kampala Arts Trust, a member of the Pan-African Circle of Artists (PACA) and the Ugandan Artists Association.

Dickens Otieno (Kenyan, b. 1979)

Dickens Otieno’s tapestries uses and draws attention to the potential beauty in objects that would otherwise be dismissed as useless and discarded. He shreds aluminium cans and weaves them into tapestries, in a process informed by the weaving of natural materials such as papyrus, raffia, or palm that he observed growing up. His mother was a tailor and he spent many hours in her workshop amongst lesos and kitenges, whose colours and patterns have since influenced his aesthetic. This engagement with fabrics grows from an interest in the way pattern, colour, and iconography are used to imbue functional objects with meaning and identity. Otieno draws heavily on his immediate physical surroundings, particularly the urban environment in his native Nairobi to create his compositions. Objects piled high in markets, the constantly shifting skyline, the pockets of nature in the concrete and steel haze of Nairobi – these are the sources of Otieno’s inspiration for his richly hued, increasingly sculptural compositions.

Otieno has participated in numerous group exhibitions locally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include: See Here, Old Neals Auction House, Nottingham, 2018; Africa/Africa, Total Arts Courtyard Gallery, Al Quoz, Dubai, 2018; Young Guns, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, 2017; The Third Dimension, Circle Art Gallery, 2016; UNI-FORM MULTI-FORM, Roots Contemporary, Nairobi, 2016; Paint and Metal, National Museum in Nairobi, 2016. His recent residencies include the Tilleard Artist Residency in Lamu, Kenya, and a 6-week fellowship in Italy at the CIvitella Ranieri Foundation.