The Art Portfolio of Kipwani Kawanga

A photo of an art installation consisting of a hallway lit in bright pink and blue tonesA wall is just a wall (installation view at The Power Plant, Toronto)

Kapwani Kiwanga is originally from Hamilton, Ontario, and is now based in Paris. The artist’s practice is multi-faceted, with Kiwanga often utilizing multiple media and formats in a single work, reflecting a diverse perspective on her socially and culturally charged subject matter.


An installation of an artwork with a projection of a plantA wall is just a wall (installation view at The Power Plant, Toronto)

 

Much of the artist’s practice is informed by the idea of colonialism and power imbalance, and many of her works explore modern relationships to colonialism, and the effect of historical conflict on present day structures. Some of the subject matter reminds me of the anthropological explorations of Basel Abbas and Ruanna Abou-Rahme. In some works, Kiwanga artist takes a polished, contemporary aesthetic approach, utilizing bright colours and minimalist forms -- like in A Wall is just a wall (and nothing more at all), a 2018 exhibition which included light installations reminiscent of James Turrell.

 

Kiwanga represented Ontario in the 2018 Sobey Art awards, taking first place.


An installation view of an artwork with several dividing curtainsSoft Measures (installation view at Tramway, Glasgow)

Written by: Dallas Jeffs

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