Elias Mung'ora

Elias Mung'ora


Elias Mung'ora’s practice focuses on history and memory and is intertwined with a commitment to exploring the complexities of urban spaces and the remnants contained within them. Mung'ora's art endeavors to extend beyond the canvas, reflecting a deep connection to the socio-cultural fabric of his lived experience from a Kenyan context.

His paintings, characterized by vibrant colors and meticulous detail, capture the chaos and resilience of citizens navigating the urban landscape. The synthesis of painting, photography, and print techniques in his work reflects a multidimensional exploration of the contemporary human experience.

Elias is currently studying anthropology at Nairobi University, a testament to his commitment to understanding the intricacies of human experiences and histories. This academic endeavor enhances his artistic viewpoint, imbuing his artwork with rich layers of cultural significance and historical context.

In 2023, his work was featured in the “Mburoti Maguta Maguta” at One Off Gallery in Nairobi and in a group show titled “Common Ground” at the Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute. The previous year, he participated in the 1-54 Contemporary Art Fair in New York and the group exhibition “Fragments” at Antoine Dupin Gallery in France.

In 2021, he held two solo exhibitions: “Sacrifice Pastures” at One Off Gallery in Nairobi and “A Gathering of Small Fires” at Montague Contemporary in New York. He also had a solo exhibition at One Off Gallery in Nairobi in 2020 and participated in the group show “The Ghost in the Machine” at Montague Contemporary in New York.

His earlier exhibitions include “Celebrating Our Collectors” at One Off Gallery in Nairobi and “Behind This Face: The Human Face Evolution in Painting” at Gravitart in Nairobi in 2019. In 2018, he showcased his drawings at the Saba Artist Residency in Lamu and participated in the “CO.FEE” exhibition at Priest Gallery in Johannesburg. Elias’s work has also been recognized with awards. He was a top 10 finalist in the Barclays L’atelier in 2017 and won the Manjano Art Competition in 2016.

During his time at UJUZI, Elias plans to delve deeper into his family history and its intersection with the broader history of Kenya. He aims to specifically explore the early East Africa Scottish mission and its role in shaping the colonial project through its missionary, labor, and education practices. Elias is particularly interested in understanding the impact of these practices on families like his own. This exploration promises to add a new dimension to his work, further enriching his artistic expression.

Elias feels a need to expand his artistic practice beyond just paintings and drawings, aiming to include more research-based material. He aspires to develop a better conceptual basis for his work and learn new ways of engaging with source material.