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Where did you grow up?

My family moved to the UK before my teens so essentially I was born in Nairobi and raised in London.  

What is your earliest memory?

I think I was 2 years old and I remember my mum trying to feed me porridge, which I totally disliked and kept refusing to eat. Funny thing is, I totally love porridge now!


What is your artistic background?

I have always been interested in being creative from a very young age. Also I did my Art foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts and my BA in Fine art at the Slade School of Art. I once toyed with the idea of doing a Masters degree, but now I am certain and happy to continue my education in the university of life.  


What socio-political, racial or cultural narratives do you explore in your art?

It varies and depends on the context that I’m in at the time and how passionate I feel about it. In the past, I have made work about multiculturalism in London, the immigration status of refugees in the UK and the housing crisis particularly in working class areas. I am also interested in my childhood nostalgia (for Kenya) and how that affects my identity as a person from the diaspora.  


Do you find that there are limitations when working with recycled materials?

Not at all. In fact as a sculptor, process and material are key elements in my making and the challenge of working with objects or materials that no longer have a function create infinite possibilities and ideas rather than limitations. 


What advice would you give to multi-disciplinary artists similar to yourself, whom are trying to navigate cultural and racial parameters in their niche?

Keep going - don't give up! Don’t pander to the masses. Make work that you want to make. Know and understand your value as an artist and don't give your ideas away for free.

The harder the fall by arlene
on the ladder by arlene wandera
Centrepiece by arlene wandera
Trollied by arlene wandera

"Don’t pander to the masses"

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