Siphiwe Mnguni launches new art event series at Christ Church

On Sunday 5 May British–Zimbabwean painter and photographer Siphiwe Mnguni was welcomed to the Christ Church Art Room where she delivered the first instalment of our new art workshop series, Sessions. The series aims to connect the Christ Church community to artists, musicians, creative thinkers and practitioners who will contribute to expanding our community’s knowledge, skills and appreciation of the creative arts.

Siphiwe Mnguni is a multidisciplinary artist known for her mixed-media portraits that combine painting, collage and illustration to explore the black female nude. Her works – which have appeared at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2023) and the Tart Gallery, and which have been featured on the BBC, in Harper’s Bazaar and in The New York Times – celebrate communities who are typically overlooked in the artworld. As well as exhibiting her art, Mnguni has delivered workshops at The Courtauld Gallery, Hauser & Wirth and Kingston University. 

Mnguni’s workshop at Christ Church began with a discussion between her and DPhil candidate Valerie Asiimwe Amani, herself an accomplished artist. Mnguni recounted her creative journey, including how COVID-19 was a turning point in her career, and shared insights into her process of using what is available to make artwork. This was followed by a few quick life drawing exercises in which Mnguni challenged participants to trust themselves and draw without looking at the paper, using colour as symbols for our loved one, and our past and present selves. 

Images of Siphiwe Mnguni and attendees of her workshop


The last part of the workshop introduced collage as a way of finalising and rethinking life-drawing, ending with an intimate discussion around body-acceptance and using art as a way of calming our minds. 

Attendees of our inaugural Session shared their positive experiences. 

Siphiwe’s cut out method with expressive Mark making felt like a great artistic breakthrough for my practice. Thank you for organizing the session.

Garima (participant)

What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. We tuned into our intuition and tapped into our own identities and that of others in the art we produced. It was a session that taught us about how freeing it is to learn how to trust yourself.

Josita (participant)

The Session was a fulfilling experience for Mnguni as well. 

Thank you for having me conduct a workshop with your wonderfully introspective, warm and open students (and staff) – I thoroughly enjoyed myself and learnt so much about my practice and myself.

Siphiwe Mnguni (artist)

We are grateful to all the participants from Christ Church and beyond who contributed to this very generative and special experience, our Art Room Tutor Sarah Simblet who made this all possible and, of course, Siphiwe Mnguni who brought a warm and vibrant energy to the space. 

Some of the art produced at Siphiwe Mnguni's workshop