Prina Shah is a contemporary artist living in Nairobi. She was born in Kenya to Indian parents and grew up partly in the UK. Her creative practice spans over the past twenty years during which she has explored and developed a series of unorthodox yet eclectic methods using mixed media, hair, sculpture, painting, and glass.
Her recent work embraces the complexities of cultural identity. Her fascination with the meaning of ‘self’ within a cultural context pushes her to explore what it means to be an African-Indian artist in an intricate and varied societal environment. Prina’s art challenges the very notions of individualized identity within a communal whole. She uses meditation as the inspiration and foundation of her work, scribing musings onto the canvas, drawing the viewer into a personal narrative, inviting each person to share part of that reflective, visual journey of what it means to be one among many.
Throughout her career, Prina has exhibited her work in numerous national and international art shows. Most recently, she participated in the exhibition “Red” at the One-Off Contemporary Art Gallery (2020); and in 2019, in the group show “Lucid Dreams” at Circle Art Gallery, both in Nairobi, Kenya.
Among other private collections her work is also part of the Kouvola Museum Collection in Finland and the I&M Bank Collective in Kenya.
My work touches ideas on questioning and exploring the inner self, the journey of the self, and iterations of the self unfolding along the way.
I create my art by delving into the deeper levels of consciousness, introspecting, deconstructing, experiencing, and pushing my own boundaries, constantly challenging my assumptions and my own mental models of the world.
My inspirations strive from the personal evocations of anxiety, belonging, denial, and solitude, having a deep desire to move beyond the boundaries of cultural and gender norms.
The influence of being raised in three different cultures reflects in the way I experiment with various mediums. The material I use depends entirely on the work that I am exploring in that moment.
I take risks, unraveling the ideas that allow me to re-discover myself. It is the idea and creative process that challenges me. Through the unraveling and explorations, I invite the audience to consider the way they perceive their own environment, ponder on the spaces created though those musings, though not necessarily having to walk away with answers but to reveal the journey.
2020, Red - One-Off Contemporary Gallery, Kenya
2019, Lucid Dreams - Circle Art Gallery, Kenya
2015, Paper 1 - Circle Art Gallery, Kenya
2014, Paper 11 - Circle Art Gallery, Kenya
2013, Sanctuary 11 - Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London, UK
2011, ARS 11 - Kouvola Art Museum, Finland
2011, Sanctuary - National Museum of Kenya
2010, Amnesia - National Museum of Kenya
2009, Festival Culture Elles - French Cultural Center, Nairobi, Kenya
2009, Probe - Godown Arts Center, Nairobi, Kenya
2009, Made in Afrika - National Museum of Kenya
2009, Beyond Desert DARB - 1718 Culture Centre, Cairo, Egypt
2007, Art Show and Sale - International School of Kenya
2004, Wasaani Exhibits - Lamu, Kenya
2002, Monsoon Musings - Ramoma Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
2001, Exhibits - United Nations, Nairobi, Kenya
2000, Bush Glass BGY2K - Ramoma Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
2000, Best of Kenya - Ramoma Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
2000, Art Affair - Ramoma Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
1999, Bush Glass Output - ABC Place, Nairobi, Kenya
1999, Glass and Metal - French Cultural Center, Nairobi, Kenya
1999, Art Affair - One Off Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
1998, Sculptures - Product Design Development Centre- Kenya,
1998, Best of Kuona - 3rd Anniversary - Gallery of Contemporary East
1998, Africa Art - National Museums of Kenya
1998, Earth and Ocean - Scalters House, Nairobi, Kenya
1997, The 3 of Us - One-Off Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
1997, Art Affair - One-Off Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
1997, Stone Carving - Kuona Trust, National Museum of Kenya
1994/95 1Year- BA(HONS) Fine Art Foundation at Southampton Institute of Higher
Education, Southampton, UK.
1993-1994 Diploma -Art and Design, Creative Art Centre, Kenya