Profile: Tanzanian artist Cloud Chatanda with a rare gift


His father was a soldier, and his folks wanted just a normal son with normal working hours in a stable well-paying job with a family and maybe, if the gods were fair enough, a car. But Chatanda’s dreams and burning desire was a parallel world to that of his folks. In school, his class teacher found and appreciated a kid who would draw illustrations for use in class. Chatanda passion for art would eventually manifest itself further, he later started raising money to help his family sooner than they imagined.

Chatanda was born in Njombe Tanzania, 1974. After school, Chatanda joined Kinondoni Young Artist (KYA) an NGO based in Dar es Salaam dedicated to providing support and facilities to artists in East Africa in 1990 from where he diversified his skills. The 42 year old has made illustrations that have been used widely in schoolbooks, Magazines, Social Campaigns and Comics.  In 2013 he received a Best AC cartoon award.

Presently, Chatanda works on large scale hand drawn paintings that document city life in his home country. In 2016, he won an artist residence to Berlin Germany courtesy of Urban Narratives (Simulizi Mjini) where he brilliantly captured the essence of Berlin City. He has also had a residence at Kuona Trust in Nairobi.   

To Chatanda, art is an invisible religion which exists within him. He feels that he shares part of this religion with friends through his pieces which evoke nostalgia as curious art lovers relate with the pieces and also bring about dialogue as they share about his creation.

Chatanda has exhibited his works at National Museum, Nafasi Art Space Alliance Francaise in Tanzania and the East African Biennale. He is currently part of the team exhibiting at the Tanzania Contemporary Art Expo 2017 in Nairobi Kenya.


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