About Hawa

Artist’s Statement

The current mixed media paintings are textured memories, visual responses to a range of personal experiences. The paintings evoke both the landscape and the culture through the abstract use of color, form and collaged materials.

These works embody both fresh impressions and early memories: the beauty of the land, the colors of the mud brick and indigo sky, the heat of the sun, the essence of the place in all of its contrasts. These contrasts can be best summarized as “the beauty in the harshness” – beauty in the desert, happiness in poverty, gracefulness manifested in a materially raw environment.

The current series relates to works over the span of the last 12 months, reflects both the artist’s emerging formative years in Africa and her experience living in contemporary multi-cultural Canada. As a whole, this oeuvre is an expression of cultural bridging, with artwork creating opportunities for bringing people of contrasting cultures together.  It simulates conversations that give people a chance to discover their universal values.

The mixed media paintings have become a way to investigate layering and texturing in relation to the subject matter. Layering is accomplished by overlapping paper, leather, netting, cheesecloth, textiles, photographs, and family documents.  Additionally, texturing is achieved using gels, modelling pastes, and other acrylic-based media.  The artist’s gravitation away from abstract to portraiture shows a progression as an emerging artist.


Hawa Kaba creates mixed media paintings that evoke the artist’s West African heritage and her like in multi-cultural Canada. Using photographic images, printed matter, paint and found materials she evokes the landscape and culture of Africa, the richness of lives of women, the struggle for social justice and her own personal memories.

Hawa is an artist of African descent who found her calling relatively late in life. She came of age in a culture where women could not aspire to making art because that was strictly a male prerogative.  She was in her forties when she started to take painting classes.  Her emergence as a mature artists came in the 1990’s and her work has followed two distinct avenues:  theme of women and their challenges and multi-media work that employs traditional elements of collage.

Hawa has exhibited her paintings extensively in solo exhibitions across Canada and the United States as well as internationally, such as Japan. Her work is in a number of public collections including the Canadian High Commission in Paris, France, the City of Ottawa collection and the Corporate Collection of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.  She is presently exhibiting in Ottawa and has a scheduled show in October 2019, in Perth, Ontario.