Art with the Power to Impact the World

When Shukrani Nangwala '21 moved to the Twin Cities from Tanzania during high school, his photography hobby was a way to immerse himself in his new surroundings and stave off home sickness. He arrived alone to the U.S., moving in with a close, supportive family friend, who’s like an uncle to him. His mom and siblings remained in Tanzania.

Stepping out of his comfort zone has served Shukrani well. It gave him an opportunity to learn more about other communities.

At St. Thomas, he joined the Urban Art Mapping Research Project led by professors from English, art history and geography. They catalogue street art from numerous countries and make it accessible through an online database.

“It really opened my eyes to art in the streets; art that tells stories with the power to impact the world,” he said.

It helped him view the world through a different lens. “Coming from a low-income country to a high-income community – how people react to the disparities is very different,” he said, but one thing is similar: “Everyone wants to be given the chance to be viewed as a human.”

And he learned something else. “It doesn’t matter where you are from, whether outside or inside the country, St. Thomas does care about these stories,” he said. That’s why he’s proud to declare: “I’m Shukrani. And I am a Tommie.”

Learn more about the Urban Art Mapping Project, and Undergraduate and Graduate programs at the St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences.

Thank You to the Artists Featured in This Year's CAS Spot

Artist Mural Name
Lori Greene Berbere
BIAFRA, Inc Crisis
Kao Lee Thao Our Common Threads
Focus Smith Give/Take
Rock Cyfi Martinez Spirit of Misi-zibi
Claudia Valentino and Daniela Bianchini Empowering Generations
Chuck U Maritime Law
Nu-One It Was All a Dream
Katrina Knutson 612 & 651
Marlena Miles The Kaposia Times
Redcan Graffiti Jam Mitakuye Oyasin 2020
Ua Si Creative, formerly ArtCrop Ask Why
Missy Whiteman Celestial Embodiment: X
Xee Ritter Wonderland
Peyton Scott Russell We (#3)
Miskitoos (Holly) Henning Waasamo-inini
Fadlabi The Air at Night
Jordan M. Hamilton Sankofa: Mutable Stability
Thomasina Topbear Unci Maka
Hillside Murals Saint Paul Vintagisms
Reggie Leflore The Afrocentric Spectrum
Mariela Ajras Motherhood and Migration