A pioneer of performance arts in Kenya, Ato Malinda creates sophisticated, challenging works of art that compel conversation related to the rights and conditions of women, LGBTQ communities, and the perception of Africans and Africa worldwide. Her diverse practice includes performance, drawing, painting, installation, video, and ceramics as she investigates the hybrid nature of identity, contests circumscribed notions of authenticity, and often focuses on concepts of gender and female sexuality.
Ato Malinda was born in 1981 in Kenya and grew up between Kenya, the Netherlands, and the United States. She received her MFA from Transart Institute in New York. In 2015, Malinda was one of the awardees of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship and won the One Minutes Award in 2012 for moving photography. Her solo shows include Games (2013) at Savvy Contemporary, Berlin, which centered on sexual abuse, and Incommensurable Identities (2011) at New York’s Aarhus Art Building, which examined tenuous relations between Europe and Africa. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum (2016), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen (2015), the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (2015), the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (2014), and Salon Urbain de Douala in Cameroon (2010), among others. Malinda currently lives and works in Rotterdam.