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Thandiwe Muriu is a photographer from Kenya. With her images she wants to celebrate the beauty of the African woman by focusing on what makes them so beautiful and unique. Thandiwe's photographs are real works of art.

Camo 4415

Camo 4415 playfully show a rainbow of dotted delight along the fringe of the model's hair. Beads are a big part of adornment in Africa and there is a rich history of wearing beads for both beauty and to symbolise messages of status, age group and so forth to the larger community in one glance-without speaking a word

"Beauty and greatness do not belong to the gods alone" African Proverb


My journey began at 14yrs when my father taught my sisters and I how to use digital cameras. I like to say before then that I had all this art inside of me that was looking for an outlet but hadn’t found one yet. I couldn’t really draw or paint, but right from my first interaction with the camera I knew there was a connection between photography and I.

Every day after school I would rush home and finish my homework so I could photograph clouds, flowers and anything I could get my hands before the light faded. My father had all these old photography magazines that I would pour over during the weekends. I was hungry to learn anything and everything about photography!


The yellow brim of Child's Play 2 is actually the lid of a plastic clothing hamper. These hampers have a distinct finish made by a local Kenyan factory, and are sold at any and all supermarkets within Kenya. As a child, the artist would play hide-and-seek and sometimes curled up inside the large sized laundry basket to avoid being "found". More grown up now, the Artist took a hamper lid and repurposed it as a Vogue-worthy statement hat within a small enclosed space for Child's Play 2. The image is titled quite appropriately, as it is part of a series where Thandiwe explores the toys and games she played with growing up

My elder sister used to collect Vogue magazines and over time I developed an interest in wanting to create pictures like the ones I saw on the covers- these magical, flawless images… I convinced both my sisters to model for me, using bedsheets as the background to create all these elaborate shoots. For lighting, I used foil paper as a reflector (I wonder if my mother ever figured out where all her foil paper went!).

After ever shoot, I would put the pictures up on Facebook and about a year later somebody inboxed me and asked me how much I would charge for a photo session. I thought “Wow! You mean I can get paid to do this?” At this point I had no idea photography could be a career path and I was over the moon I could get paid to do what I loved! And that’s how my career began.

By the time I was in university, I had a steady stream of small clients and enough savings to buy my first camera. I graduated from university with a degree in Marketing and felt pressure to consider the job offers I received. After watching me struggle to make up my mind, my father told me,

“You love doing photography. Why would you consider doing anything else?”

Until that moment, I had never considered photography as a career path (incredible, I know). It’s as if a lightbulb went off in my head and I was free at last to fully pursue my passion. I moved from shooting portraits, over time, to corporate events, and then eventually ended up in commercial advertising photography which is where I am today.


This work was presented for the first time at the Amsterdam unseen artfair. It plays on a voluntary hyperoptimist and on a very marked erasure of the body, contrasting with the power of the frontal and absorbing stair of the model. We can see here a strong feminine figure that can be seen as a reference to Medusa, a very powerful antique female character. The accessories in the hair are made from toy fists. Thandiwe plays here with a strong ambivalence air culture present in her work: on one hand a certain and marked commitment for the cause of the African woman and her culture, and on the other hand a spirit full of humor and lightness.

"He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it" African proverb