Thandiwe Muriu Confronts Notions of Value in Her Vividly Disguised Portraits

the artist wears recylcled material eyewear and a blue and yellow patterned garment that allows her to blend in with the backdrop

“A Cycle of Joy” (2023). All images © Thandiwe Muriu, shared with permission

Kenyan photographer Thandiwe Muriu (previously) questions conceptions of disposability in You Thought You Could Throw Me Away. On view this month at 193 Gallery in Paris, the exhibition includes a selection of Muriu’s striking portraits that camouflage her body amongst vivid, kaleidoscopic backdrops. Vibrant and disorienting, the photos emphasize the artist’s limbs, hair, and eyewear made of everyday materials and ask viewers to reconsider who and what are thought of as expendable.

Many of the works shown here are part of Muriu’s Camo series, which envelops the artist in Ankara wax fabrics common in Central and West Africa. She also dons accessories made of objects frequently used in Kenya, including sieves, plastic bottle caps, and flat spools of thread, that are created in collaboration with local artisans and makers. Each work reimagines portraiture traditions and what it means to be a modern woman, especially as it relates to notions of value and importance.

You Thought You Could Throw Me Away will run from October 14 to December 30. Until then, find more of Muriu’s works on her site and Instagram.

the artist wears recylcled material eyewear and a pink, yellow, and blue patterned garment that allows her to blend in with the backdrop

“Our Collective Beauty” (2022)

the artist wears recylcled material eyewear and a blue and yellow patterned garment that allows her to blend in with the backdrop

“Call Me Please” (2022)

the artist wears recylcled material eyewear and a purple and red patterned garment that allows her to blend in with the backdrop

“I See You” (2022)

the artist wears recylcled material eyewear and a pink and green patterned garment that allows her to blend in with the backdrop

“Victorious Dreams” (2023)

the artist wears recylcled material eyewear and a blue and pink patterned garment that allows her to blend in with the backdrop

“Circles of Love” (2023)

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