Mlengeya’s first solo show in Europe. It pays homage to the vivid history of dance and the myriad of ways dance creates liberation for women across the African Diaspora.
Sungi Mlengeya, Zone, 2022. Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 140cm. Courtesy of the artist & The Africa Centre.
‘(Un)choreographed’ is a reflection of the artist’s growing interest in enriching herself in her abundant culture as a journey of discovery. For Mlengeya, this body of work asserts the control that women have over their bodies, this is especially pertinent in the case of Black women. Due to race and gender, when dancing, Black women can often be sexualised, they aren’t afforded vulnerability and are still victims of the patriarchy.
As such the artist sees parallels with dance and the real lives of Black women occupying space. Dance is a celebration of existing in the bodies that are our homes, which we inhabit unchoreographed. It is this fluidity and ability to make change which gives the show its name. The paintings radiate energy and create a space of infinite possibilities.
Foregrounding the Black female figure, Mlengeya’s painting gives her subjects agency and power. “I’m inspired by those women who rebel and do what they want, and I want to capture that strength for those who don’t feel they can or who are afraid. I want them to know that they can be these women, that they are these women,” she has said.
Mlengeya was recently chosen for Apollo’s 40 Under 40 Africa and made an impact last year at Art Basel Miami Beach with her booth with Afriart Gallery one of the leading contemporary galleries shining a light on African artists.
Developed in partnership between Ugandan-based gallery Afriart and The Africa Centre, Tanzanian artist Sungi Mlengeya’s debut London solo show ‘(Un)choreographed’ pays homage to the vivid history of dance and the myriad of ways that dance creates liberation for women across Africa and its Diaspora. Curated by Tammi Bello and Jessica Lowe-Mbirimi, Mlengeya’s exhibition unveils 8 striking large-scale paintings that radiate energy and celebrate the agency and power of their Black women subjects. ‘(Un)choreographed’ reflects the artist’s recent interest in immersing herself in her abundant culture as a journey of discovery. Through Dance, Mlengeya explores larger social themes of female empowerment, specifically that of Black women.
The exhibition will be on view from the 10th of June until the 24th of July 2022. For more information, please visit The Africa Centre.