Elias Mung’ora: One of Many Ideas of Home

02 May 2024 - 29 Jun 2024

Elias Mung'ora, Wanja in Between Visits, 2024. Courtesy of MONTAGUE CONTEMPORARY

Elias Mung'ora, Wanja in Between Visits, 2024. Courtesy of MONTAGUE CONTEMPORARY

In his new series One of Many Ideas of Home, Elias Mung’ora embarks on a deeply personal exploration of identity, belonging, and familial history. Drawing from his own experiences and relationships, as well as a quest to understand his ancestry in Nyeri, Central Kenya, Mung’ora weaves a rich narrative that examines the interplay between individual lives and broader historical contexts. Through the integration of old family photographs, often layered to the point of obscurity, he seeks to connect with and evoke memories and histories that are otherwise inaccessible, inviting a reflection on the ways we relate to our pasts.

Central to the series is the recurring motif of carpets, symbolizing contested spaces and the notion of home as both a physical and emotional construct. This theme is particularly poignant in works like Lunch in the Midst of an Unplanned Move, where the absence of a carpet reflects a moment of displacement and a reevaluation of what it means to belong. Mung’ora’s work transcends the autobiographical, challenging viewers to consider their own perceptions of home and identity against the backdrop of Kenya’s colonial history and the universal quest for rootedness and connection.

For example, the artwork At Home on My 30th is a compelling highlight within this series. Set against the backdrop of a vividly depicted home interior, this piece contrasts sharply defined carpets—symbolic of claimed, intimate space and value—with abstract, less defined elements like walls and ceilings, representing the impermanence of the artist’s current state of rootedness. On this significant personal milestone, Elias reflects on the transient nature of home and belonging, using the carpet as both a literal and metaphorical foundation within the space.




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