Thandiwe Muiru Confronts Notions of Value in Her Vividly Disguised Portraits

Source Colossal  

“A Cycle of Joy” (2023). All images © Thandiwe Muriu, shared with permission

Kenyan photographer Thandiwe Muriu (previously) questions conceptions of disposability in You Thought You Could Throw Me Away. On view this month at 193 Gallery in Paris, the exhibition includes a selection of Muriu’s striking portraits that camouflage her body amongst vivid, kaleidoscopic backdrops. Vibrant and disorienting, the photos emphasize the artist’s limbs, hair, and eyewear made of everyday materials and ask viewers to reconsider who and what are thought of as expendable.

Many of the works shown here are part of Muriu’s Camo series, which envelops the artist in Ankara wax fabrics common in Central and West Africa. She also dons accessories made of objects frequently used in Kenya, including sieves, plastic bottle caps, and flat spools of thread, that are created in collaboration with local artisans and makers. Each work reimagines portraiture traditions and what it means to be a modern woman, especially as it relates to notions of value and importance.

You Thought You Could Throw Me Away will run from October 14 to December 30. Until then, find more of Muriu’s works on her site and Instagram.


“Our Collective Beauty” (2022)

“Call Me Please” (2022)

“I See You” (2022)

“Victorious Dreams” (2023)

“Circles of Love” (2023)

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