Shows. Herself

solo-show by Mwamba Chikwemba


Art Acacia Gallery is honored to introduce a talented artist from Zambia – Mwamba Chikwemba – and present her new art exhibition called ‘HERSELF’.  We are very inspired to see this young star in the Zambian art scene as it is our mission to bring you authentic experiences from talented artists like Mwamba from across the world.

This show is a story about women told by a woman. Mwamba has had to fight against the cultural stereotypes of women in her society as well. Despite the social pressure, she quit her secure job to pursue a career in the art world. She decided to lean in and stand up for her dreams. This is the inspiration behind her artwork!

The main theme of the show is to focus on women’s beauty, their tenacity in the face of gender stereotypes and their fight to find a voice of  authenticity. It is a celebration of women. Their identity, their courage and their sacrifice, which goes beyond social expectations and provides hope for future generations. The artist starts the conversation on the visual representations of suppressed states. Some examples include the natural African hairstyle to hide their origin, a head-wrap suppressing female individuality on a physical level, a motivation to explore the colors of make-up and clothing to re-connect with female individuality etc.

Every new painting displays motivation for other women, calling for action, asking to raise their heads in confidence and, return them to their natural female authenticity. Bringing it to the world without any fear of reprisal. These paintings stand out for their large canvases which support the grandeur of that collective image of a Zambian woman even more. The postures show pride and strength. The colors speak for the vibrating power of the female soul and the eyes share the same hardship of being a woman today in a  society dominated by men.  

Some of us from the western world, we are accustomed to  seeing ‘cliche’ images of Africa – whether it be the nature sunsets in the Okavango delta or pictures of civil conflicts in places like Darfur. These artworks stand apart and go beyond what we consider as  ‘African’ art. We encourage you to spend more time with these paintings and sense the liberation of their fighting spirit. This represents the spirit of Africa. It is elevating and empowering!

Twillie by Mwamba Chikwemba


'This piece is inspired by my friend Twillie. She is a very vibrant and confident woman. She knows what she wants in life she choses to pursue it despite of challenging life circumstances.'

Different by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia


'We would like to think that men and women are fundamentally the same, except purely physiological differences. We all want the same rights and opportunities.'

Women identity3 by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity III

'This is an image of a friend of mine Twillie. She is very beautiful and very courageous woman. Even the way she ties up her hair with a head wrap in a typical afro style illuminates her confidence and pride.'

Women identity V by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity V

'You can choose exactly what to see in any situation of your life. No one ever got blind by looking on the brightest side of things. Always choose to see the positive side of everything you look at.'

Woman Identity I by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity I

'I always want to explore deeper what a complete freedom of a woman is. It seems to me that having an inner sense of freedom is essential for a woman to preserve all her interests: an interest in life, in family, in building a home, but also an interest in her career. Its common in Zambia for a woman to loose her freedom once she gets married. They loose their freedom. They loose who they are, their identity. It's like men own them...'

Women Identity VII by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity VII

'There are no limitations when it comes to a woman and her beauty. A woman can still maintain identity and express it in her beauty by simply choosing nice colours , by adding a little bit of make up or a well tied head-wrap. Many women stop taking care of themselves once they get married. It is common in my country...'

Women's identity IX by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity IX

'The artwork references a Zambian woman who believes that everything you wear on your body is an expression and you speak without saying a word.'

Women's Identity VIII by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity VIII

'The painting explores how this woman in my neighbourhood looks with a head-wrap. She has never gotten any complaints about wearing a head-wrap from her husband. She believes you can still look sexy wearing it.'

Women's Identity II by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity II

'This work is all about a woman who believes that the better you feel about yourself, the less you will worry about what others think of you. It's what she uses to boost her self esteem as a woman.'

Women's Identity IV by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity IV

'This work is a self-portrait. I want you to see here a woman who is determined, naturally and socially focused on her goals. The one who has a professional confidence that nothing can ever prevent her from creating art, not even a marriage, unlike these other women.'

Women's Identity VI by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity VI

'Here I wanted to capture a strength and a joy of a woman. Inspired by my mum, despite her responsibilities as a wife and a mother, she still stands out for what she always loves to do (her career). She's a strong and a very hardworking woman.'

Women's Identity IX by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity XI

'Many women take on too many responsibilities because they do not want to be perceived as lazy or unhelpful in their marriages. For many women, learning to say ``no`` to requests from their husbands or families, is the most difficult thing.'

Women's Identity X by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Women's Identity X

'A praying woman. We all want to pray sometimes. In this painting as an artist I pose a question 'What happens when a woman prays?'. A strong woman knows she has enough strength for her journey, but a praying woman knows it's in her journey, where she will gain her strength.'

Afro Sisters V by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Afro-sisters V

'Taking care of hair is a big deal for a lot of women in Zambia. They either braid it, weave it or cut it short to ‘control’ it. Others are blessed enough to rock their natural hair. We see tonnes of hair styles every day, leading to the ever expanding salon business.'

Chitambala by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia


'Chitambala (head-wrap) forms the central theme in this artwork. I often wonder 'Why should we wear Chitambala?'. From the beginning of times, African women have been always wearing head-wraps. I grow up with my mother wearing them and she told me that we have to wear Chitambala for a respect and for a beauty that we posses as African women.'

Afro-sisters IV by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Afro-sisters IV

'This piece is from the series 'Afro-sisters'. The main focus is on a woman named Mulenga Mulenga, who is very confident and proud of her natural African hair. She says that she has been always encouraged to wear a weave to disguise her Afro-hair; she was told that her natural hair looks unprofessional. However, despite opinions of others, she is proud of her look and works at a consultancy firm in Lusaka, Zambia.'

Afro-sisters I by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

Afro-sisters I

'In 'Afro-sisters' series in general, I explore more African hair which is a big part of our self-expression and female identity. Most people in my country are not proud of it, whilst some are. I am curious to understand what motivates most women to use fake substitutes instead of their natural beautiful afro hair.'

Day of death by Mwamba Chikwemba Art Acacia

DOD (Day of Death)

'Death forms the central theme here. People fear death but what has it done? Regardless the circumstances, everyone will have to face it.'