Mona Taha, born in Uganda in 1988 to an Egyptian father and a Rwandese mother is a self-taught 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 or 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 Muslim woman, wife, mother, and daughter. 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. She has participated in “Surfaces 2019”, an artist discovery platform by Afriart Gallery who continues to mentor her.