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Leso Zetu Kwenu Zasema

wall text-mural / sticker-stencil graffiti / spray paint

Linda Shuma + Natalia Szostak

in cooperation with Elsa Amondi, Melody Gikundi, Daisy Jepkosgei, Margaret Kendy, Ruth Kisot, William Luchu, Bahsan Samow, Jackline Wachira

Linda Shuma and Natalia Szostak began work on their project by collecting personal narratives in discussions about female heroes and local traditions with beneficiaries of the Kesho Kenya aid organization, and students from Pwani University. Inspired by the khanga, brightly patterned fabrics containing proverbs meant to communicate important messages among East African women, the duo used graffiti art to document the everyday struggles young women face in murals at the university’s Kilifi campus.

The Linguistics of Empowerment

action in public space / stencils / photo documentation

Linda Shuma + Natalia Szostak + Ciro Githunguri + Justyna Machnicka

in cooperation with: Elsa Amondi, Melody Gikundi, Daisy Jepkosgei, Margaret Kendy, Ruth Kisot, William Luchu, Bahsan Samow, Jackline Wachira, Musa Kabwere, Safari Mazerah Fahari, Janine Mwende, Tom O. Nyadida, Lawrence Odanga, Yuda Oriema, Stella Wambua

Slogans contesting the oppression of women that appeared on the streets of Kilifi in September 2021 arose from the DUOS Festival Zine, a gazette created by Ciro G. and Justyna Maknicka. Articles written by Pwani University students addressed issues of personal autonomy, including about one’s body and way of life, in the face of social and religious dogma. Subjecting these themes to discussion, analysis and language play yielded phrases that the duo transformed into speech acts – tools of efficient communication in seemingly neutral urban space. Hand-made stencils and spray paint permitted the repetition of bullet-point messaging as part of a larger graffiti-manifesto.

Linda Shuma

Linda is an upcoming artist based at the coastal town of Kilifi along the East African Coast of Kenya. She works mostly with recycled, upcycled, and repurposed materials (wooden shipping pallets, plastic and glass bottles). Linda started painting and actively trying out different art media in 2016. She enjoys experimenting with bright colours to create her different pieces that can be used decoratively and that are sometimes gifted to family and friends. As she undertakes her community work, Linda uses her artwork to teach life lessons during mentoring sessions and hopes to inspire many more in the community to pick up different art genres as a way of therapy, self expression, and gainful living.

Natalia Szostak

Born in 1980 in Szczecin, Poland. Visual artist combining traditional techniques with new media, action in space, and text. She graduated from San Francisco State University in California (BA 2007), Academy of Art in Szczecin (MA 2012), University of Arts in Poznan (PhD 2018). Assistant professor at the Szczecin Academy of Art. In 2018, her book The Matter of Experience and the Image was published by The Universitas Society of Scientific Papers Authors and Publishers located in Krakow, Poland. Author of the PLATERØWKA social art practice project based in a tenement house in a working-class district of Szczecin (2011–2014). Her work has been shown in numerous solo shows, among them: National Museum in Gdansk, TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin, and Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin. Her activities include participating in national and international group exhibitions, conferences, residencies, collaborations, and community arts projects. She lives and works in her hometown.

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