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Thobias Minzi

“Art is everyday life, it’s just a form of how you can express and present it.”

Thobias is a Painter and Filmmaker, born in Mwanza Tanzania.

A shy and quiet little boy, it was as if he was never there in a home of five siblings. His father was a teacher and his mother was a hands-on housewife. Thobias definitely got his talent from his father, who hid his own artistic talents through his career as a teacher because at that point in time, being an artist was something frowned upon.

His parents finally came around and supported Thobias in his pursuit of an art education and career after, he persistently won art competitions at school, county, district and regional levels.
He will never forget the day his father gave him his first allowance in support of his participation at a Regional level competition; prior to this, Thobias had received zero support from his parents.

When Thobias moved to the big city, he met and found a community of like minded people and he felt right at home. While attending informal training and workshops, he developed an artistic style that utilizes fabric, wood and thread to convey images and feelings. The tactile nature of fabric allows him to create semi-abstract pieces. His paintings depict women and children, the role they play in African daily life, and the challenges they face within developing countries.

Thobias displayed his work in two solo exhibitions in Tanzania and Kenya and several group exhibitions around East Africa, as well as in the USA, Spain, Denmark, Finland and Norway. Also he participated in various workshops and residencies in Tanzania and Denmark. His paintings are held in collections at Muhimbili National Hospital, Aga Khan Hospital Dar es salaam Tanzania, The Prime Minister’s office, and The State House in Dar Es Salaam Tanzania.

Joy to Thobias is found every time he completes a piece of art and someone loves it. Besides art, Thobias loves to swim. If he were to be another species on earth, it would definitely be a fish. Thobias is also a bit of a movie fanatic with a love for fantasy and detective movies. In addition, he loves to explore and learn new things through travel. His dream project would be to have a solo exhibition/workshop abroad.

Thobias would consider his fan base his biggest achievement thus far, he regards it as, “beyond belief.” His dream is to own his own gallery or art center where he would have the opportunity to teach art to aspiring artists and leave a legacy behind long after he departs this earth.

Critique from the Gallery

The name Thobias Minzi is highly revered among all art circles in Tanzania, with his reputation stretching far beyond the borders of the coastal nation which he hails from. He has quickly become one of the most prolific artists in the country due to his ingenious approach in mixed media. It has made him one of the most sought after artists in the continent, with his pieces being exhibited throughout Europe and other nations in Africa. His vibrant style of expression has often been said to resemble the style of Gustav Klimt who also treated his art with a decorative/ornamental sensibility as did most artists of the Art Nouveau period. Minzi’s signature technique of patching textile fabrics to his painted subjects for aesthetic appeal has undoubtedly revolutionized the art of african portraiture within the local artist community, by skillfully utilizing a staple of african culture to convey and further highlight their african identity. Often leading to other artisans imitating or replicating his technique in new ways tailored to their own individual specifications. Though Minzi’s colorful fabric and complimentary color composition may seem visually appealing, his technique also possesses a tangible allure thanks to his crafty handling of the fabric to create texture, that makes viewers tempted to reach in and feel the tactile binding of the canvas and seams of fabric that encompass the colorful surface of the pieces. This is further enhanced by the glossy sheen that he embellishes his work over with. Thereby creating an immersive experience that is rather unique to the two-dimensional medium of fine art painting. Combined with a realistic depiction of his subjects, often making them appear life - like or as if they are on the verge of popping out of the canvas. He has therefore managed to add some vigour to the otherwise uniform art of portraiture, which is quickly growing in demand in the region.

Selected Works

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