Sungi Mlengeya’s women portraits manage to say a lot without saying much. Her portfolio mostly consists of dark faces in minimal shades of black and browns against perfectly white backgrounds, with details like clothes intentionally omitted. “I chose to paint black people to celebrate black ethnicities,” she explains, “to express the beauty in blackness, to bring forth pride and cement an unmovable black spirit.”
“I focus on women as representatives of their societies, since throughout history,” she adds, “the central role of women as life bearers, nurturers, caretakers and educators has ensured the stability of their communities.” Born in Tanzania, Africa, Mlengeya remembers being a creative child, drawn to arts and crafts.
But when it came to her creative journey, Mlengeya path was a meandering one, having first pursued a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and working in finance before finally returning to art. Painting mainly with acrylic, she finds inspiration in photographs, with the final product narrating her ideas, beliefs, and experiences.
“The minimalist simple backgrounds create high contrast and put emphasis and attention on the subjects,” she says. It also invites the viewer to add his or her own layer of interpretation. Take a careful look: