Wangari Mathenge Rediscovered Her Creative Roots

Painter and visual artist, Wangari Mathenge, captures African men and women, both in Africa and the Diaspora, using bold brush strokes. With her color choices centered around the three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), and her images dipped in floral patterns – the end results are both vibrant and alluring.

Like most creative souls, Mathenge’s artistic passion sparked early on, and she recalls painting as early as primary school. “Our lessons were held in the teacher’s garden, where she had erected easels and set out acrylic and watercolor paints for our use,” said the Kenya-born, California-based painter in an interview with Art of Choice. “Even though we were outdoors, we painted unobserved landscapes, which generally took the form of rolling hills. Cityscapes and imagined village scenes with huts and market stalls were popular.”

But as the years went by, she redirected her passion elsewhere. “From childhood, I had been guided to consider as a suitable venture a career in commerce, medicine, engineering or law,” she says. “Working as an artist was never on the table.” It was only after moving to the US, that she returned to painting.

“Living independently and removed from my family and formative culture gave me the space to look inwards,” reflected Mathenge. “Art was a tool that I used to find a connection with space.” After graduating from both Howard University and Georgetown University Law Center, where she studied International Business and Law, she finally realized her true calling was in art.

Follow her creative journey via Instagram: