Sungi Mlengeya’s Portraits Rely on Negative Space

Sungi Mlengeya’s portraits are inspired (and take note from) photographs, focusing mainly on black women. Though her paintings are minimal, relying on negative space and bold contrasts, the finished result is dramatic, treating a wide range of topics, from personal ideas to cultural experiences.

“My portfolio mostly consists of dark faces in minimal shades of black and browns against perfectly white backgrounds,” says Mlengeya. “I chose to paint black people to celebrate black ethnicities, to express the beauty in blackness, to bring forth pride and cement an unmovable black spirit.”

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Black lines

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“I focus on women as representatives of their societies, since throughout history; the central role of women as life bearers, nurturers, caretakers and educators has ensured the stability of their communities,” she goes on the explain.

Born in Tanzania, she recalls how at a very young age she and her sister would go through the craft pages of their mother’s Woman’s Value magazines looking for something interesting to make. But only years later, after graduating with a Bachelors of Commerce in Finance and taking on a Banking career, did she return to her original passion and embarked on a career in art.

We wish her luck.

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F O R M S I

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S I L E N C E

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