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Artist TajTaj Matumbi says, “I have always enjoyed meditation and feel grounded when I do it.”



Exploring identity through art
by Maharishi International University, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, Achievements
14 September 2022

Maharishi International University (MIU) alumnus Taj Matumbi grew up in Northern California, influenced by his dedication to skateboarding and his parents’ affinity for Eastern spiritual traditions. He spent his sophomore year of high school at an international school in India, followed by two years at Maharishi School in Fairfield, staying with friends of his family.

After graduating from Maharishi School, Taj enrolled at MIU and took a variety of classes before majoring in art. He studied ceramics and painting and graduated with a BFA in 2018.

From the several graduate schools that accepted his application, Taj chose the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for his MFA. In 2020, the COVID pandemic forced him out of his campus studio to work at home, which led to a burst of creative expression and increased confidence as an artist. 

His practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique has been especially helpful during those times of uncertainty. “TM and getting to my studio got me through some anxiety and stress of the last few years,” he said. “I have always enjoyed meditation and feel grounded when I do it.”

In the summer of 2020, he accepted a commission for a mural for the city of Madison during the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.

For his MFA exhibit he decided to explore his identity as a biracial person through Black history and his personal experiences, highlighting the paradoxical nature of his existence in a series of self-portraits presenting possible versions of himself.

Since his graduation in 2021, Taj has been included in multiple group shows in Birmingham, Alabama; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; and Seattle; as well as an art fair in Berlin, Germany. He appreciates getting the exposure and having a community of artists in Madison and Iowa as well.


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