MTENDERE "TEEBS" MANDOWA - LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Mtendere Mandowa (pronounced “ten-de-ra”, Chichewa for “Peace”) or Teebs as he is better known, a producer, a painter, and contributing member of the noted LA based Brainfeeder record label was born in the Bronx, New York with Malawi and Barbados origins. Mandowa bounced around the East Coast living in both Georgia and Connecticut before finally landing in the affable LA suburb of Chino Hills. It was here that he began to attune his sonic and visual languages in the solitary of his mother’s two car garage.
Following the release of his much anticipated sophomore album Estara, Mtendere began to redirect his creative focus into completing the body of work that would later be exhibited as “Overgrown”. His painting practice bares much relation to his music production: collaging, overlapping, and mixing imagery with painted gesture to create meditative and minimalist visual soundscapes. The work emanates a sense of organic appeal with feelings of warmth and movement similar to that of his music. Currently residing in the hilltop neighborhood of Mt. Washington in close proximity to the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Highland Park, Mandowa continues to pull influence from his surroundings noting the changes of eastside Los Angeles communities as a point of creative interest. The paintings often play upon a push and pull between the crowding of space and the pressence of negative space, similar to the surrounding east side communities. At times the works seem “overgrown” with organic shapes bending and folding atop one another while at other times the work remains sparse and refined.