Evans Mbugua’s exhibition ‘Lessons in Selfhood’ opens at Art Madrid 2024

OOA Gallery presents “Lessons in Selfhood,” an exhibition by acclaimed artist Evans Mbugua, curated by Sabo Kpade, at the 19th edition of Art Madrid. 

Running from March 6 to 10, Mbugua’s debut appearance at Spain’s foremost art fair promises to be a highlight of the event.

Born in 1979, Mbugua showcases a new set of paintings and large-scale installations at OOA Gallery’s booth at the Galería de Cristal of the Palacio de Cibeles in Downtown Madrid. The exhibition is a collaborative effort with Cameroonian painter Ajarb Bernard Ategwa and Beninese sculptor Rėmy Samuz, featuring three distinct sets of works: “We are all Spinning round the Same Sun [Act 2]” (2023), “Cousinhood Gimmicks” (2024), and “Alternation” (2024).


“Lessons in Selfhood” marks the culmination of Mbugua’s long-standing series “Back to the Future” (2018-2024), delving into themes of childhood, youth and adolescence. Through his exploration of the “age of life,” Mbugua offers a profound reflection on child-rearing practices and the universal experiences of growing up in the early 21st century.

The exhibition is underpinned by three fundamental principles: as a visual anthropology for artistic inquiries, as a historical resource for understanding adolescence, and as a platform for new artistic interpretations of childhood. Mbugua’s works, often described as “cosmic pop art,” draw inspiration from a myriad of influences, including British and American pop art, Abstract Expressionism and African textile patterns.

Drawing on his international acclaim, Mbugua’s inventive renditions have been showcased at prestigious art events worldwide, including the Asian Art Biennale in Bangladesh and the Venice Art Biennale. 

“Lessons in Selfhood” takes art enthusiasts on a journey of introspection and wonderment, exploring the intricacies of human existence and the cyclical nature of life.

Mbugua’s “Alternation,” a striking triptych installed at the entrance of the Galería de Cristal, serves as a symbolic representation of life cycles and generational connections, offering a poignant reflection on the passage of time and the enduring bonds between past, present and future.

Mbugua has amassed international reputation for his paintings which have been the subject of gallery exhibitions in England, Spain, France, Kenya, Italy, Senegal, Germany and Nigeria. 

His paintings and sculptures were exhibited at the 19th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh (2022), and AKKA Project at the 59th Venice Art Biennale also in the same year. Most recently, Mbugua made a triumphant return from showing new bronze and textile-based works at the 2023 edition of la Biennale Internationale de Sculpture de Ouagadougou (BISO), the premier sculpture biennale in Burkina Faso. 

Kpade is a curator, writer and researcher who specialises in the art and cultures of Africa and its diaspora.

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date