Born 1976, Chingola, Zambia Stary Mwaba was raised in a rich traditional cultural background and intellectually stimulated environment from the very beginning, surrounded by a lot of traditional craftsmen and performers, now living in Lusaka, an urban metropolitan area where different cultures and urban practices encounter each other.
“Many factors have influenced my practice to a certain extent but I have always wanted to say something strong and critical through my work about issues that are important in the preservation of life and the development of the Human being. I have realized the importance of discovering my identity in the practice of my art and have taken a journey into self discovery, therefore creating work in a context in which my culture can be seen, experienced and studied in depth or compared and contrasted across time and space.”
Most of Stary’s previous works represent his unending restlessness search for material comfort, spiritual and emotional fulfilment through the journey into self discovery. He has experimented with different media, in the process dealing with themes such as identity issues and many others. He has also created art works in form of wall murals in a inquiring, investigative, experimental and research- minded way on universal themes such as Human Rights, Politics etc, collaborating with other artists both locally and internationally on projects that engage with the public. Stary has participated in a number of residences, exhibitions and international workshops, which include the Prestigious Robert Wilson’s Watermill Residence New York, The Caribbean Contemporary Arts, Trinidad and Tobago, Braziers International workshop, London. His solo exhibitions include the “Freedom in Transition”, Lusaka National Museum,2008. “Solace of a migrant” Johannesburg, South Africa,2009. “Crossing Over” Caribbean Contemporary Arts, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago 2005 and Museo di san Salvatore in Lauro-Rome 2010.
Stary Mwaba will create a maze made of hardboard using chitenge material, a traditional African cloth. The material is used mainly by women as clothing and is patterned with a number of different designs both traditional and political. They represent to Mwaba a key part of the African culture, which have been manipulated by businesses and politics. Mwaba will use the chitenges to construct images and forms that explore stereotypes of African culture along with the artists own identity. Is Mwaba an African Artist or an artist from Africa? The colors of the fabric are in stark contrast to the notion of Africa as a dark continent. The installation will be a cut out of a maze large enough for people to walk through. On the outside the maze will depict more traditional stereotypical images of the continent while the inside will depict symbolic images that explore complex notions of identity and culture through simple, accessible imagery in a number of different media including video.
Mwaba intends not only to question the viewer’s perception of Africa but also art as a practice through a blending of craftwork and traditional painting with more modern conceptual elements. The piece will also aim to explore identity on a macro and micro level: Mwaba as an artist as well as how the African culture is perceived.