Sungi Mlengeya

Sungi Mlengeya was born in 1991 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is a painter whose figurative portraiture is a commemoration of women who surround her. She hopes to show her subjects and audience the freedom and power they possess, by capturing them in an indomitable light and suspending them in infinite spaces filled with possibilities.

Sungi’s work has been collected extensively and shown widely. Following her debut solo exhibition Just Disruptions at Afriart Gallery in Kampala, the artist presented a solo booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021 titled Unsettled Minds. In 2022, her solo exhibition (Un)choreographed marked the reopening of The Africa Centre in London; and the solo exhibition Don’t Try, Don’t not Try was hosted by B.LA Foundation in Vienna, Austria. The artist was also part of A Force for Change by UN Women, an art exhibit and auction benefiting black women across the world. Other group exhibitions include Black Voices: Friend of My Mind at Ross-Sutton Gallery, The Medium is the Message and Drawn Together at Unit London, 1-54 Highlights at Christie’s London 2020, Playing to the Gallery and Surfaces II: Gender Identity Rebellion at Afriart Gallery, 1-54 Art Fair 2020 London and New York, and Latitudes Art Fair 2019 in Johannesburg. 

In 2020, Sungi was selected in Apollo 40 Under 40 Africa, a selection of the most inspirational young people in the African art world, and has recently been honored in the inaugural Keep Walking: Africa Top 30 List. Currently, her work is part of the monumental group exhibition When We See Us: A Century of Black Figuration in Painting at the Zeitz MOCAA, Capetown. In 2023, she was a resident at the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center.

Selected Press:

Ugonna-Ora Owoh for OkayAfrica: Sungi Mlengeya Uses Her Art to Celebrate Tanzanian and Ugandan Women. 2022.

Michael Holland for Southwark News: The Art of Dance Opens New Africa Centre. 2022. 

UN Women Africa: Take Five: I hope to use my art as a commentary on the issues I’m passionate about and influence the positive change I want to see. 2021.

SuwiKabwe for Between 10 and 5: African Women and Their Stories Through the Eyes of Tanzanian Painter Sungi Mlengeya. 2021.

Ginanne Brownellfor The New York Times - Opposite Styles, 2 African Artists Capture the Same Spirit: Marcellina Akpojotor, of Nigeria, and Sungi Mlengeya, of Tanzania, explore female empowerment and the roles of women in African society. 2021.

Made in Bed: Elsa Åkesson in Conversation with Artist, Sungi Mlengeya. 2021.

Toast Magazine: Painting Women into a LimitlessSpace – In the Studio with Sungi Mlengeya. Chloe Ashby. 2021. 

Create! Magazine: Finding her Focus – Interview with Sungi Mlengeya. Alicia Puig. 2021.

ApolloMagazine: The Apollo 40 under 40 in focus.Jillian Caddell. 2020.

1991 -
Nationality: Tanzanian
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