Tanzania: Self-Taught Artist Celebrates Magufuli


A solo art exhibition titled Shades of Magufuli by Dar es Salaam-based architect-cum-artist Undare Mtaki opened in June at the famous artists’ space, Drum, in Masaki, Dar es Salaam to rave reviews. The exhibition celebrates the life of the former Tanzania president John Magufuli, and ends July 11.

The artist used acrylic on canvas and creates texture with sand from Mwanza and stones from Chato, Magufuli’s ancestral home.

Undare, 27, is a self-taught artist who only pursued his artistic talent after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Engineering from Ardhi University of Dar es Salaam.

Larger-than-life

Undare’s pieces depict Magufuli in military wear to show his larger-than-life persona and leadership. In real life, as the Commander-In-Chief, Magufuli only wore military uniform occasionally for military events.

In creating the pieces, Undare’s said, “After finishing the sketches I used glue to mark the patterns. It was not co-ordinated, I sort of danced around the canvas while spraying the glue on top of the sketches afterwards I came to apply the acrylic colours on top.

All his pieces have small square and rectangle boxes, identifying his work.

“I normally connect my artwork with my home in Mwanza. I used the stones from Magufuli’s hometown of Chato and the sand is from my hometown of Sizu on the shores of Lake Victoria.”

Undare said he always harboured the idea of working on portraits of Magufuli for an exhibition but never had the pieces ready, but his sudden death accelerated his work.

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