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Thulani Mashava

A second-year year political science student at UEHS

UEHS is a cultural melting pot that helped me meet like-minded people

Thulani Lester Mashava is 22 years old and a second-year political science student at UEHS. He is a creative person who is immersed in art and discovering Warsaw as a city of diverse opportunities. At the university he has gained recognition, found friends and like-minded individuals.
Thulani comes from a beautiful little sub-Saharan country, Zimbabwe. For as long as he can remember he has been fascinated with emotions, both understanding them and expressing them through his art. That’s why human faces and figures can often be found in his paintings.

icon button go to media Gallery of works Thulani Mashava

Hello, Thulani!
I am just looking at the paintings you sent. They are amazing!

Tell me, who are the people in your pictures? How did your journey into the world of art begin?

Art has always been my true safe space. It doesn’t have the rush of competition while my only competition is myself. I started to sketch when I was around 8 years old. My uncle had paintings and drawings, so I grew up around a lot of art and used to love looking at it as a child. I first learned to draw by sketching outlines of my favourite cartoon and Anime characters but as I matured I started to experiment with acrylic and oil paintings. Later I did Cambridge Advanced Level Art. Now I’m working in Oils, acrylics, pencils and quite truthfully anything that can make a mark on canvas or paper! The subjects I choose range from close friends and family to re-imagined stock images.
Actually, my love for the arts goes beyond painting, I also write. However, now I create more art than I write.

I know, you received awards for some of your writing. What do you write about?

That’s right, outside of art I’ve received honours for a creative writing competition for prose and some ones for public speaking and debates. Most of my short stories were descriptive pieces that focused heavily on detailed environments and attempted to take the reader on a trip, such as prose on a walk through a busy street.

Talented people are talented in many ways, right?:) Tell us about your family. Aside from your uncle's art, were you surrounded by creativity at home?

I had a fairly normal upbringing in my home town of Bulawayo. I thank God everyday for parents that were supportive whether it was on the rugby field or the art lab. They were there for me to the best of their abilities.

Why did you choose Poland and UEHS for study?

I decided to come to study in Poland when a couple of my friends told me about the opportunities here and I haven’t looked back since.

What are you studying? What would you like to do professionally?

While I’m in the process of completing my degree for International Relations and Political Science I still have many dreams for my artistic journey.

You mean art, right? I can't help but ask you about artificial intelligence in this context. What is your opinion on AI in terms of art?? Because images generated by AI are increasingly difficult to distinguish from those made by photographers or painters.

The subject of A.I in art is very complex much like any technological advancement. My honest view of AI generated art is that it affects digital creators and designers more than it would Traditional artists. In fact a counter argument for A.I is that it will reset the global art market that I feel had become saturated with uninspired “edits” and “digital paintings”. Granted I absolutely love the work of some digital artists like MoonSunDiamond, original and organic digital artists are few and far apart. The morality of training the A.I models on existing art is a different topic but there is irreplaceable value in Human Touch. Much like the industrial revolution and technology brought about mass production, the value of hand-made items went extremely high. I am optimistic to see where it all goes.

Thanks for your comment! What are the opportunities for being creative for you in Poland? What do you do to be yourself?

Because I’m still new here I have been slowly building a network of creative minds and attending galleries and exhibitions. There are definitely a lot of unique and amazing people I’ve interacted with both on campus of our university and outside. Balancing student life and work has been both exciting and intimidating but art has always been my outlet. UEHS has definitely helped me meet like-minded individuals from other artists to singers and general enthusiasts.

Tell us in more detail about people you met at our university? Students? Lecturers?

There have been many talented people like Idil Kir, Hirwa Husna Umubera, and Furgerson Esiti who are all in my year of study and each of them either paints, sings or dances in that order. They have become more than classmates but some great friends that always bounce creative ideas around. I still hope to meet more artistic people and possibly even get to meet the dean of the School of Arts. It still remains a dream of mine to be a painter in any capacity some time in the near future.

Moreover, I have already been privileged enough to be appointed as the coordinator of the UEHS Academic Work and Research Centre For Political Thought and Leadership where I’ve had the chance to work with like-minded peers. From Model United competitions to debates and visits to important historical sites all over Warsaw I have been fully immersed in the culture of Warsaw.

What functions does the Center do, what is the main goal of this association?

The UEHS Academic Work and Research Centre For Political Thought and Leadership is a small branch of the University that includes the debate society, the organizing and attending of Model United Nations conferences, and a general melting pot of outstanding students that have a passion for current affairs and the world around us. We have representatives that have won numerous accolades such as Thandiwe Dube and former Erasmus students that represented the University at PolMUN in December of last year. About 5 our representatives (myself included) received the Rector’s award later that year.

Great job! You are not wasting your time! You mentioned galleries and exhibitions in Warsaw. What specific places do you visit? What would you recommend to people who have similar interests to yours?

The art world is ironically conservative in the sense that you either know or you don’t. That is not unique to Warsaw. However, there are a couple of exhibitions that happen all over the city that I either get invited to or I find on well-hidden social media pages. For instance, there are Instagram pages like Artshow Events which always have information about exhibitions and gallery shows coming up. But the simplest way is the old-fashioned backpack and water bottle Saturday afternoon exploration of the Warsaw streets. I have found many places that way.

The way I see it, after getting to know the city like this, you can definitely help assimilate people who come to Poland from other countries :) But how was it with you from the very beginning here?

Poland is definitely very different from my home country and not just the weather 🙂 However there are a lot of people from all over the world so I have not lacked new connections and relationships, especially at UEHS. It’s a cultural melting pot so fitting in here hasn’t been difficult.


We thank Thulani for being relentless, joint journey into the world of art, and his new perspective on the places we seem to know so well!

Alona Trokhymchuk,
UEHS in Warsaw

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