A solo by Maliza Kiasuwa
4 Mar - 6 May 2023
Through creative blending, Maliza Kiasuwa produces organic works meshing unusual fragments of both organic and manufactured material. Whether in the form of braiding raffia and rubber or stitching loofah and polyethylene, the assemblage which can be found in a large proportion of her work symbolizes the age-old craft of weaving and patching, often used in order to expand the life span of discarded objects. These two techniques are characteristic of crude African artistic ingenuity, in spite of insufficient access to productive means. This starkly contrasts industrial society’s celebrated notion of abundance; almost inseparable from our current consumer society.
One day when the artist was working on her farm in Naivasha (Kenya), her daughter brought her a nest fallen from a tree following a storm. The nest was made of various materials which the artist decided to use: fragments of fishing nets, cotton, raffia, polyester threads from torn grain bags.
“This complex combination of elements, carefully gleaned from the banks of the lake, symbolize the difficult cohabitation of humans and nature, wealth and poverty, which even the most vulnerable of animals manage to transform into a cozy, protective and yet fragile home.”
Maliza Kiasuwa’s productions are overlaid with stitches, symbolizing the need to constantly mend, repair, heal, and gather what has been damaged by the hazards of history. The artist engages viewers to touch her works, to ponder about the origin of the resources used, and to observe these contemporary productions with renewed attention. Self-supporting, suspended or draped on metal rods, the artist’s creations synthesize the delicate and the brutal, wealth and poverty, ugliness and beauty, of her environment. This ambivalence and tension remains particularly present within the African continent: “équilibre instable.”