The photography of Thandiwe Muriu deconstructs the individuality of Africa's vibrant cultural mix. The emancipation of beauty norms is a reoccurring theme at the forefront of her practice as she employs surrealist techniques to redefine female empowerment through the application of material choices such as textiles and common household items. In her CAMO series, Thandiwe showcases Africa’s unique mix of vibrant cultures, textiles and beauty norms. Through her work she celebrates her African heritage and tackles important issues such as identity and self-perception using the rich colours and vibrancy the continent is so well known for.
Drawing inspiration from African textiles, everyday objects and traditional hairstyles, Thandiwe explores how the individual can lose their identity to culture. In her work she not only explores who she is as an artist, but also as a black woman. Through CAMO, Thandiwe aims to reclaim the self-love of the African woman who is often excluded from beauty standards in her own country.
The accessories in Thandiwe’s work are inspired by the objects Kenyans interact with in their everyday life, where one object can have multiple uses beyond its original purpose. The Artist explains that this creative recycling is commonplace for a population often lacking in means- “When you have little, you transform and reuse it.“
Lastly, passionate about the rich history of traditional, architectural hairstyles that are being forgotten, Thandiwe was inspired to incorporate modern forms of these hairstyles into her work in a process the Artist refers to as ‘modernizing history’- drawing from historical elements to inform future generations about the past.
Though a vivid aesthetic, the Artist takes you on a colourful journey through her world as a woman living in modern Africa as she reinterprets contemporary African portraiture.