Artist Interview: Nadia Wamunyu

Artist Interview: Nadia Wamunyu


Nadia Wamunyu is a well-establish contemporary visual artist. She strongly believes that she was born an artist. We wish her a very warm welcome to the Area Noir family. Join us as we get to know her a little better below.

Can you tell us about your background in the arts and how your line of works has evolved?
I started drawing as soon as I was old enough to hold pencils and watercolours. My parent bought me watercolours and brushes and I started painting casually in the house from the age of three. It was my way of withdrawing since - according to my dad - most other children could not understand me. My inspiration was my dad; he encouraged me to work with my hands as I was disadvantage by my disability. I have a condition called profound hearing loss where I can barely hear without wearing hearing gadgets. I lost my hearing at three years old after a strong dose of antibiotics was administered by a doctor. While in primary school and by the time I did standard six, I had a painting for which the owner of the school paid for and I was hooked so I drew everything I saw. There was no art in my secondary school so I relied on the little exposure I got in primary school.

What is the starting point of your artistic expressions? 
My art is all about the sexual harassed, physical problems, black feminists, emotional experiences and culture. That's the way of my artistic expression. Often contemporary artists create art for an audience that does not yet exist. Is your work created for a specific and already existing audience? The makers in Nairobi are still small. I create art for myself. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to have some followers or lovers of my creation. 

Do you work on a timetable that does not respond to the demands of a faster pace of production? In what ways has the need for immediacy affected your rhythm and process?
My art is an expression of myself. I realised I could record my memories, experiences, tastes and feelings through drawing. Now people understand my perspective, how I think, my vision and my desires much more effectively. I just work for myself.    

Is your artistic approach inspired by any artists and art history?
Yes, I am inspired by Patrick Mubaki from Kenya, Maral Bolouri from Iran and Wangechi Mutu. 

Do you see your art playing any roles in multifaceted conversations about our world today?
The artist decorates society, expresses their feelings, joys and struggles.The artist is society’s third eye. They work in different space, engaging with the international community and drawing/painting environments and cultures that will give them new experiences that play a huge role in the practice.

Do you have unwritten but well-established rules that you follow to establish a signature style?
My work is an extension of my love for travel and passion for the female body and women identity and empowerment.

How has making art changed your understanding of human interaction, time and culture?
I changed, or influenced, points of view by interacting with a new environment and by being surrounded by a totally new audience. My achievement shall be evident in my approach to my materials and how I shall be interpreting my subjects.

What are some issues that you are currently reacting or responding to?
Women’s freedom of speech, profiling and identity. Being in love with their body or who they are

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?
I’m currently working on more women’s body of works and planning to open my own gallery, that is my dream.
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