Mona Taha, born in Uganda in 1988 to an Egyptian father and a Rwandese mother is an artist and mother of two boys. She primarily works with charcoal on medium to large-scale paper. Her drawings are figurative and oftentimes self-portraits depicting herself in intimate, yet mundane poses. She is fascinated by anatomy and how the body can portray a message oscillating between motion and stillness. The figures depicted in her work seem to be frozen in moments between movement and stillness, moving on from stillness, yet caught in suspension while contemplating how to move forward.
As drawing is a therapeutic process and outlet for Mona, she is drawn to themes that revolve around her personal introspection and struggles as a woman, as a mother and daughter, and as a woman coming from a Muslim background. Themes around gender, femininity, self-discovery, self-awareness and social identity come to the fore and become a reflection of her personal process of learning to accept and embrace her true self. As much as her work is deeply connected to her personal growth and discovery, it is also an encouragement for others, especially to women, to find the courage to discover and accept themselves, to find clarity and the confidence to put themselves first – despite society’s expectations and prescribed roles. Mona’s quest for self-discovery and self-empowerment is a rebellion and a call to action for those who are restless, looking for defiance, resilience, and the inner calmness that comes with knowing and appreciating oneself.
Mona graduated from Makerere University with a degree in Development Economics and has worked in logistics and family business until she decided – and put her foot down against family and societal expectations – to become a full-time artist.
Mona has shown her work in ‘Surfaces’ (Afriart Gallery, 2019), ‘Where the Wild Things are’ (Afriart Gallery, 2022), ‘Echo’ (Jenkins Johnson Projects NYC), Shapes of Water (Afriart Gallery, 2023), and Eastern Voices: Contemporary Art from East Africa (Addis Fine Art, London, 2023). Besides, she has participated in Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Paris, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair New York and London, Art X Lagos, Abu Dhabi Art, and FNB Joburg.
Marques Hardin for Manifesto! An Art Publication fromArtgence: Artist Spotlight: Mona Taha. 2021
1-54 New York Studio Visit Series: Mona Taha (2021).
Imara Africa Blog: African art on show - Spotlight on Art XLagos. 2021.
New African Magazine: Artists to watch at this year’s 1-54Contemporary African Art Fair. 2021.
Alicia Puig for Create! Magazine: Afriart Gallery Presents"Where the Wild Things are" a Group Exhibition of Emerging UgandanArtists. 2022.
Adebayo Quadry-Adekanbi for Shado Mag: Arts that Resist:Conceptualising identity and class in Nigeria - A look back at ART X Lagos 2021.
The Art Kultured: 100 Days of Women Artists – Mona Taha. 2021.