“The raw energy of nature and the refined aesthetic of the creator make my heart beats”
Maliza Kiasuwa was born in 1975 in Bucharest to a Romanian mother and Congolese father. She is a self-taught, multi-dimensional artist and a true citizen of the world. Kiasuwa was raised in Kinshasa and Brussels and currently lives on a disaffected farm by Lake Naivasha, in the heart of the Rift Valley in Kenya. She has had solo exhibitions in London and in Nairobi where she is represented by Circle Art. In 2021, Foreign Agent presented Masolo, a group show featuring her work along with two Congolese artists Kura Shomali and Joycenath Tshamala. She is currently exhibited in Washington DC, USA, at Morton Fine Art and will present at the Congo Biennale in Kinshasa later this year, as well as AKAA Paris 2022.
Kiasuwa examines questions of identity and lineage through painting, stitching and collage. She revisits old engravings representing stiff pot-bellied white paternal ancestors and reimagining them with features from traditional African art in a labor of intimate métissage, reminiscent of surrealism. She also combines handmade materials from Japan with found objects from around her farm. Kiasuwa embraces her chosen material’s earlier character and vocabulary but transfigures their context.
Her main sources of inspiration are nature, the earth and the cosmos. Her interest in transformative and regenerative processes comes from the desire to understand the mystery of the cycle of life. Philosophical and spiritual matters are at the forefront of her work. She describes herself as a weaver for she mixes materials, styles and techniques that are not meant to meet and creates something unique out of them.