Lawrence (Shabu) Mwangi was born April 1985 in Kenya. One of many children, the attention of his parents was focused on the more demanding of his siblings. Left to look after himself, by the age of ten he was living on the streets exposed to a world of glue-sniffing, alcohol and abuse. Most of his peer group died during this time. Fortunately he was rescued by Catholic Missionaries and placed in a rehabilitation centre in Nairobi, where he was given a fresh start. In 2003, when he felt that he 'had something to share with society', he started to paint. He intimates that the only tool he could use to express himself was art 'because with art you have the wisdom of silence'.

 

He combines his art with social work and the daily struggles of those he tries to assist. He interacts with his community by sharing these issues within his work, bringing hope and inspiration. When not involved in making his own art, Shabu works with children with disabilities and offers basic counseling and therapy through art. In 2005, he started a group known as the Wajukuu Art Project.

 

He has held three solo shows in Nairobi: two at Le Rustique and one at One Off Contemporary Art Gallery. He has also exhibited in a group show at the Kenyan Embassy to the United States.