Munya Chawawa Knitted head

Munya Chawawa knitted portrait

Size: 8cm x 12 cm
Materials: Acrylic, Wool and Cotton

For the second in my ‘Black Heads’ series ( Stormzy h.i.t.h. being the first) I have chosen Munya Chawawa. For those of you who haven’t heard of him Munya is a British Zimbabwean comedian. He makes comedy sketches and parody videos. He is a co-host of Channel 4 entertainment programme titled ‘Complaints Welcome’.

Why I chose Munya Chawawa

I resonate with his work as it is social commentary. I’m always amazed at how quickly he responds to situations and get his content up online; he is so talented, funny and on point. He has brought so many people joy and laughter during lockdown.

I think Munya is a black British icon who has created his own table so speak. He puts in the work and innovates – he deserves to be highlighted.

From a knitting point of view he has distinctive features such as thick eyebrows and a lovely smile which aid a good character study.

I remember looking at my copy of ‘Knit Your Own Britain’ and noting there were no black figures. The characters featured are:

  1. William shakespeare
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Henry VII
  4. The Beatles
  5. James Bond
  6. Margaret Thatcher
  7. David and Victoria Beckham
  8. Ant and Dec
  9. Boris Johnson

Plus a Mini car,  jar of Marmite, Cornish Paty and Bulldog puppy. The list started me thinking about which characters would I knit as representation really matters. Black people do knit and they want to knit characters that look like them.

Knitter Michelle Obama on Vogue Knitting magazine front cover
Knitter Michelle Obama on Vogue Knitting magazine front cover

 

Black people want to see themselves reflect in what Britian looks like. In the book Black and British David Olusoga describes how the lives of black and white Britons have been interweaved for centuries. So I have to question why are we so often overlooked and omitted.

Knit Your Own Britian by Jackie Holt and Ruth Bailey
Knit Your Own Britian by Jackie Holt and Ruth Bailey

Munya has an upcoming four-part YouTube Originals series, Race Around Britain. In it, he travels around the UK in a VW camper van, speaking to people about the Black British experience. In the programme Munya shared his lived experience of racism as mixed-race person. Munya stated in an interiew with Sirin Kale for the Observer newspaper online 28/11/21:

Race Around Britain’s intended audience is people who are perhaps not au fait with terminology like unconscious bias and microaggressions, but are still open-minded and tolerant. “It’s pointless for me to try and convert people into believing that black people’s lives matter,” says Chawawa, “because you either already believe that; you’re on the fence but willing to learn; or you just straight deny it.”

 

Munya Chawawa knitted Portrait and Artist Support Pledge

This artwork is for sale as part of #artistsupportpledge  on my instagram account, first refusal goes to @munyachawawa

Matthew Burrows launched the Artist Support Pledge on Instagram The idea is simple: Artists who commit to the pledge will post images of a work that’s for sale, for no more than £200 ($230), and each time their sales reach £1,000 ($1,155) they promise to buy another artist’s work for £200.

Artist Support Pledge
Artist Support Pledge – Generosity is infectious

 

 

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