Every month in our newsletter, we feature an artist in Kenya whose work we especially love. This past weekend, we dropped in at One Off Gallery to see some of our favorite paintings, and share them with you in context. The gallery itself is nestled on a leafy hill, set up like a treehouse overlooking a bucolic, tropical landscape filled with jasmine, bougainvillea and a fabulous, meandering sculpture garden. We hope you'll love this virtual walkabout and keep your eyes open for the work of these artists in the future, wherever in the world you may be!
Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Fitsum is an Eritrean artist living and working in Nairobi. His sizeable, intense portraits are an enquiry into the social, political and geographical influences in the construction of identity and the self. You can see more of his work HERE!
Allan 'Think' Kioko
Allan Kioko is a 26-year-old self-taught visual artist, illustrator and muralist. His studio is based at the BSQ Crew Train Wagon Studio Nairobi, a creative space that was started by veteran artist Patrick Mukabi to nurture young talent. He is truly an artist to watch, and more of his work can be found HERE!
A one-time shoe salesman, Peter is interested in people as they go about their daily business. Here, he depicts a scene at the local kiosk, set off by a poster-style repeat of Golden Fry brand cooking oil, which is the item most frequently bought. Sales are recorded in a small book (held by the owner), thus the work's title "Small Book Clique."
We first saw Yinka Shonibare's British Library at the Tate museum in London. The exhibition made a huge impression on us, and we've been following along with his work ever since. Here's a sculpture shown at the Royal Academy of Arts, depicting a young, female figure struggling against an unseen force--an especially meaningful piece right now.
“The only difference between lying and acting was whether your audience was in on it, but it was all a performance just the same.”
The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi was a legend, considered to have been Zimbabwe's most renowned and internationally recognized cultural icons of all time. He sings in Shona as well as Ndebele and English, and we hope you'll enjoy this Tiny Desk Concert he performed at NPR studios back in 2013! ⬇️