I've recently taken up an interest in art, and it is an interesting journey of discovery. The art scene is so vast - I have only touched the tip of a big iceberg and Kenyan contemporary art is full of eclectic and talented artists. It was fascinating to me that most pioneer Kenyan artists were self-taught. The reason for this was that art education in the 50s, 60s and 70s was inaccessible since art schools were few and tools for learning were expensive.
Nevertheless, the scene thrived and is still thriving.
Here are four Kenyan visual artists that you should check out. They are all women!
A graduate of Buru Buru Fine Arts Institute, Beatrice Wanjiku
is one of Kenya's well-known contemporary artists. Her range of work confronts themes such as the shifting nature of human beings, existentialism and the human ability to transform.
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Beatrice Wanjiku, Untitled, 2017, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 150 x 200 cm[/caption]
Her work can be seen at One Off Art Gallery.
Miriam Syowia Kyambi
A Kenyan- German multimedia artist whose medium combines the use of performance, clay, sisal, paint and photography. Her work explores themes of constructed history, past and present violence, colonialism, family and sexuality. Read the review of her latest performance -Double Consciousness here
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Miriam Syowia Kyambi - Fracture[/caption]
Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga
One of Kenya's pioneer artists, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga's predominant medium of choice, mabati
was inspired by her childhood nostalgia and a vision to empower women, and drawn from the Mabati Women's Group formed in Nyeri in the 60s. The art reflects her journey as a Gikuyu woman.
Gakunga frequently exhibits in the UK and USA.
Yony is one of Kenya's oldest painters. She opened Gallery Watatu with Robin Anderson and her work has found a home in some of Nairobi's colonial hotels including Norfolk and The Stanley. Yony is a diverse artist and her repertoire includes landscape and wildlife paintings and quilt work. You can view her work at Nairobi Gallery.
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Multi media on fabric collaborative works by Yony and the Womens' group of Wildebeest Workshop in Lamu. Image credit One Off Gallery[/caption]