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If you asked Abu Mwenye about what inspires his many diverse paintings, the
journey would begin in his native Tanzania. As a young child, Abu can remember
being distracted from his homework by his Uncle who would be the member of the
family who possessed skills in art. In fact, there were also members of Abu's
immediate family, his mother Rita, whose art talents also cultivated his interest.
Supported and encouraged by his family, Abu began to study and create art.
Kanga patterns, Masai warriors, chungu, and shanga (beads) are just some of the
images that can be seen in Mwenye's work. The deep connection the Artist feels to
his homeland can clearly be felt.
At the same time, Mwenye is able to show viewers the deep connection to his new
home. On the 11th of September 2001, Abu had only been a resident in this country
a few months. The raw emotions and courage displayed on that day touched his
soul. He was not a stranger to witnessing such violence, having seen Somali and
Rwandan refugees in his country. It awakened in him the desire to pay tribute and
respect to all those involved in Sept. 11, as well as the basic human connection we