Maliza Kiasuwa: Pride of Origins

Morton Fine Art, Washington DC, United States
02 Jun 2021 - 30 Jun 2021

Common History 3, 2021 (detail), Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art

Common History 3, 2021 (detail), Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art


Kiasuwa’s technically masterful works explore the ironies of post-colonial politics and invent new futures through imbrication, embroidery, and the combination of heterogenous objects. The exhibition Pride of Origins explores the ongoing inequalities of exchange between Africa and the Western world.

Kiasuwa’s constructions are deeply rooted in the cultural, social, and political context of Kenya, but more generally of Africa and the world. Combining handmade materials from Japan with found objects from around her farm on Lake Naivasha, in the heart of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, Kiasuwa embraces her chosen material’s earlier character and vocabulary, but transfigures their context by sewing, stitching and mending to produce unexpected narratives and representations of society, events, and global issues. As a visual artist of European and African descent, Kiasuwa brings a panoptic perspective to her border-crossing work, which regards the coexistence of two worlds as an endless source of inspiration, and a potential space for reconciliation.

Presenting all new work from 2021, Pride of Origins unveils recent developments in Kiasuwa’s practice, which is an ongoing examination of her identity as a woman of both African and European descent, scrutinizing the meaning of duality and otherness. The very distinct, but sometimes rival, traditions of local culture and the Church similarly ungird the artist’s exploration of a “double belonging.” Pride of Origins honors the raw, natural beauty of the artist’s environment, while also challenging assumptions of value in material culture to highlight the interconnectedness of the post-colonial landscape and its inheritance of consumer society.