“Life is tough. I left my family and started living with other boys when I was 12 years old. I didn’t fear anything but death… I was surrounded by death. It hit my people. I made friends with fellow artists and I saw them die, mainly because of (life in) the crime scene…”
Shabu Mwangi was born in 1985 in Nairobi, Kenya.
He currently lives and works in Mukuru slum where he 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 behavior and our collective amnesia. His inspiration comes from the view that a lot of inequities and frustration deeply affects his society and the actions that are taken especially during highly sensitive political times can give insight to who they are and how they are influenced politically and how they are divided culturally and socially.
In his work, Shabu strives to examine human behavior and interaction with each-other and what really drives us to a point of losing the sense of oneness and reaching a point where more focus is always on our ego.
Mwangi works have been exhibited all over Africa and Europe and he has participated in various group and solo exhibitions. In 2022, Shabu has been selected for documenta 15 in Kassel, Germany, with the Wajukuu Art Project. In the same year, he has been awarded the Mario Bocchi Award by the Foundation Bocchi Historical Archive, Parma, Italy, for his innovative artistic creations and for the art of civil commitment.