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African Mother And Baby Paintings That Will Transform Your Space

Our select African mother and baby paintings celebrate the inseparable bond between the rural African woman and her infant child.

One of my favourite African mother and baby paintings of all time."Happy Mother" is a painting by Daniel Njoroge. It depicts a brimming Maasai woman with her inquisitive, playful baby. The Maasai are a proud people who live in Kenya and Tanzania. They have withstood the onslaught of globalisation with remarkable ease—and poise.

Roles Of An African Mother

The responsibilities of an African mother are so many and so multifaceted that in this section's heading, I am deliberating using the plural noun rather than the singular one.

The African mom doesn't just conceive and bring her baby into the world, she nourishes, nurtures, transports and babysits her infant child.

Yet, while childcare is solely her responsibility, this doesn't exempt her from daily household chores such as fetching water and preparing food for the family.

So you'll frequently find her multitasking... 

Farming, cooking, doing the laundry and pounding cassava or yam with mortar and pestle while the baby is securely slung to her back!

How she can cram all these demanding roles into a single day is something that never ceases to baffle even me.

So for your daily dose of motivation on your wall or inspiration to fuel you through an especially demanding task or project, check out our African mother and baby paintings below.

Paintings of the Maasai Mother With Baby

The world has long been fascinated by the Maasai tribe. Actually, more commentators refer to them as the Masai tribe. However, this may be problematic because in so doing, they omit the very "a" that undergirds the core identity of the people who speak the Maa language.

Photographers, painters and sketchers alike are fascinated by the quiet intransigence of these traditionally nomadic pastoralists, their minimalist lifestyles and, their unwavering fidelity to their apparently yesteryear culture.

So in a sense, any dextrously depicted Maasai mother and baby paintings epitomize a pristine Africa that proudly holds its own in the face of a rapidly globalizing world...

And I strongly believe the African mother and baby paintings belowby Robert Karanja and Daniel Njorogedo.

Mother!

A Maasai mother and baby painting by Robert Karanja.A painting by Robert Karanja of a Maasai mother and her baby strapped to her back. She's decked out in a red sheet (shuka) complete with oodles of jewelry.

Here are the details of Mother! by Kenyan artist Robert Karanja.

Artist: Robert Karanja

Authenticity: Original. Signed "Rob Karanja" in bottom left corner.

Materials: Acrylic painting on canvas.

Dimensions: 34 in x 44 in (89 cm x 112 cm). 

Description: This is a large painting and it would make an excellent wall art piece for your living room, bedroom, office lobby, hotel lobby or hallway. Just remember to double-check the measurements because you need a really large wall to accommodate it.

The painting illustrates the deep connection between this Maasai mother and her baby. This tightly knit mother-baby bond is not mediated by other people such as nannies and babysitters or by technology such as baby monitors or strollers.

Red and its rich array of hues is the favorite color of the Maasai pastoralists who inhabit Kenya and Tanzania...

And, due to the warm weather in the areas they inhabit, the Maasai prefer to wrap lightweight cotton sheets—called shukas—around themselves to wearing regular clothes (dresses, skirts, blouses, trousers, and shirts) which most of us Africans have embraced.

The touching bit is that despite her busy schedule, this Maasai woman still finds time (and energy!) to adorn lots of beaded necklaces, an armpiece and a headpiece before she ventures out of her homestead (called enkang in Maa).

Simple elegance, right?

You can find out more about this beautiful piece here.

Happy Mother

Acrylic on tarpaulin painting titled This acrylic on tarpaulin painting "Happy Mother" by Daniel Njoroge depicts a Maasai mother playing with her infant child. Daniel captures the emotions of both subjects in dramatic fashion!

Artist: Daniel Njoroge

Authenticity: Original. Signed "Daniel Njoroge ©" in bottom right corner.

Materials: Acrylic painting on green, heavy duty tarpaulin (that is, the same coarse, woven material that is used to make sails, tarp for boats and open vehicles and, to cover safari tentscertainly in the premier African national parks).

Dimensions: 43 in x 34 in (109 cm x 89 cm).

Description: A smiling mother confidently plays with her naked baby. The baby reciprocates, clumsily reaching for the mother's face.

The mother's head is clean-shaven, which in keeping with Maasai tradition. But it also accentuates the beaded jewelry around it, her neck and, in her torn and elongated earlobes.

How can we be sure, with a quick glance, that this is a Maasai mother? Well, her red sheet (shuka) and elaborate jewelry are in keeping with the Maasai's now world-renowned dress code which I've already alluded to.

Check out the detailed description of this one of a kind piece here.

More Beautiful African Mother And Baby Paintings

Obviously Africa and the Maasai are not synonyms as the continent is inhabited by other, racially, ethnically and culturally diverse peoples.

This, and the popularity of cheap secondhand clothing that we weave liberally into our attires has led to the proliferation of specialist open air markets and thrift stores.

It also means that many African mothers don't wear anything that resembles traditional wear...

Or that they save their cultural regalia for special occasions such as marriage ceremonies, christening and important liturgical observances in the Church and other religions' calendars. 

The mother-baby paintings below essentially depict this reality.

Young African Mother And Child Painting

An acrylic on canvas painting by Robert Karanja of a young African mother with baby slung to her back.An acrylic on canvas painting by Robert Karanja of a young African mother with her baby strapped to her back.

Artist: Robert Karanja. 

Authenticity: Original. Signed "Rob Karanja" in bottom left corner.

Materials: Acrylics on canvas.

Dimensions: 22 in x 31.9 in (56 cm x 81 cm).

Description: The subjects of this African mother and baby painting are, obviously, a smiling young African mother and her infant child...

A daughter? A son, perhaps? We will never know.

The baby is slung to her mother's back, not with a purpose-made baby sling, but with any piece of cloth that is long and sturdy enough for that purpose.

Mama is herself dressed in bright colors that complement her mood, complete with a vivid headscarf.

From her dressing and general demeanor, this African mother is not wealthy. Not even by our very modest African standards.

Women in Africa tend to give birth at a very young age due to cultural factors, lack of education opportunities and generally bleak career prospects.

The responsibility of motherhood has clearly been thrust on her at a young age...

Yet she can still afford the most beautiful of smiles. 

You can read more about this heartwarming piece here.

Smiling African Mother And Baby Painting

Acrylic on tarpaulin painting titled This acrylic on tarpaulin painting appropriately titled "Big Smile" by Daniel Njoroge depicts a mother wearing African fabric called khanga with her infant child slung to her back.

Artist: Daniel Njoroge

Authenticity: Original, one of a kind. Signed "Daniel Njoroge ©" in bottom right corner.

Materials: Acrylic painting on green, heavy duty tarpaulin (that is, the same coarse, woven material that is used to make sails or cover safari tentscertainly in the premier African national parks).

Dimensions: 36.5 in x 24 in (92.6 cm x 61 cm).

Description: An African mother broadly smiles in the direction the artist while her baby, who is strapped to her back with a piece of cloth that doubles as a baby sling, looks on, bemused.

What makes this a quintessentially African art piece? The colors of the subject's clothing mirror sun-drenched Africa. More specifically, Mama is adorned in a type of clothing called khanga, a colourful, lightweight cotton fabric woven and worn in East Africa.

The khanga is not to be confused with the kitenge, which is thicker and while it can also be used as a wrap, it's more commonly sewn into loose fitting dresses, long skirts and matching men's shirts and trousers.

The kitenge also has a wider geographic appeal and is worn by men and women in East, Central and West Africa. 

In essence though, whereas the kitenge is characterised by a repeating pattern on a fabric, the khanga is distinguishable by a bordered print that is distinct in color and pattern to the one in the centre of the fabric.

Another hint that the subject is an African mother has got to be that hairstyle...

It's really difficult to maintain our coarse, 4C hair. So we African women tend to plait cornrows, undo, wash and replait the hair every few weeks to keep it manageable without resorting to toxin-laden chemicals.

The cornrow hairstyles don't require extension braids, don't bulk up your head, take a shorter time to complete and are comparatively painfree, when compared to braids.

You can read more about this art piece, and why it's one of my favorite African mother and baby paintings here.

What Inspiration Can You Draw From These African Mother And Baby Paintings?

Look, I am all for women emancipation and I'd be the first to admit that gender-based roles in Africa need to be urgently redistributed...

As in, yesterday!

But for the purposes of this page, I choose to look at this through another, optimistic lens.

The very fact that the African woman—as a collective—is able to cope with these arduous social conditions is nothing short of a miracle. 

So I draw inspiration from her dogged determination to succeed as…

A wife.

A mother.

A teacher.

A chef.

A babysitter.

A playmate.

A nurse.

Even a stroller.

And with extremely demanding cultural and societal expectations.

Learning point?

If the African woman can keep her family happy and healthy in the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds, so can you!

More Beautiful Pieces On The Way

This is a popular category of African art and there are lots of African mother and baby paintings that will be added to this page soon.

So please be sure to bookmark this page and check back frequently.

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