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Thursday, November 1, 2007

New Group Show in Lamu for the Cultural Festival

during the Lamu Cultural Festival
at Gallery Baraka, Lamu Town
November 9th - 19th 2007

If anyone plans to be in Lamu for this year’s Cultural Festival, they will find a show of eleven artists that I am curating at Baraka Gallery, from November 9th to 19th. The exhibition is a mixture of prints (mostly woodcuts) and paintings. I am showcasing the work of Lamu artists such as Adam Musa, Mahadhi and Joseph Koi and also artists from Nairobi including Samuel Githui (Winner of the Painting Category Contemporary Art in Kenya award at the Alliance Françoise & Goethe-Institute.[2006]. Much of the work will be under $250 – I will be putting up further images on to the blog shortly.

The Baraka Gallery space, for those who don’t know it, is on the sea front of Lamu town which is an historic and beautiful Swahili town with architecture going back to the 17th century. The gallery (which has a small garden) is a de-consecrated (I think 18th century) Ismaili mosque, lovingly restored by Kate Baraka its current owner.

Hot on the heels of this exhibition will be another great group show for just after Christmas– and this will include work from the very exciting and highly sought after Gabrielle Pool. Stand by for further details and images.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two Wonderful Richard Onyango "Drosie" paintings

I am featuring here for sale two important “Drosie” paintings from Richard Onyango painted in 2003 – both Acrylics on Canvas and both fine examples of the best of his series of paintings recreating his affair with Drosie.

I Love Africa
Acrylic on Canvas
80 x 99cm

I love this painting! With its dazzling turquoise background – just the sort of colour scheme you do find on the Kenyan coast. Its depiction of the young Richard – content, cosy with his all powerful woman - the rich array of symbolism behind the figures from the spiders web style bedstead to the arrows through the heart, the fan doing its best to cool passions down and finally the self referencing “I love Africa” wooden sign. I quote from Andre Magnin’s writing about Onyango below and it is interesting that he refers to his “legibility” both these works seem to have that quality in abundance.

Drosie in the Casino
Acrylic on Canvas
80x 99cm
Another Richard Onyango classic – based on scenes early on in his relationship with Drosie. The painting has the dramatic intensity of his very best work.

“For the first thirty years of his life Richard Onyango supported himself through a remarkable range of occupations—sign-painter, truck driver, bus supervisor, woodcarver, carpenter, fashion designer, furniture maker, farmer, animal trainer. He was born in the western highlands of Kenya, near Lake Victoria; while he was still very young his family moved to the developing costal regions. His father worked for the Tana River Irrigation Scheme, and Onyango became fascinated with the signs of industrial development in the African landscape: trucks, tractors, bulldozers, planes, etc. As a child he recorded such impressions in a series of sketches he called “photo pictures” of “whatever my eye could see.” He has explained further, “To keep things properly in mind I had to draw them since I didn’t have a camera to record what I would like to put in memory.”
These elements are still present in Onyango’s paintings today. He frequently chooses to depict situations that waver between the exaltation of imported technology and its fragility. Accidents, warnings, calls for prudence reveal a world constantly threatened by disaster and the unforeseeable. Like many contemporary African artists, Onyango’s pictorial language is characterized by its great legibility. Rather than evidence of primitivism, this legibility demonstrates the importance Onyango accords to representation as a means of direct communication. The unreal theatricality of his work similarly engages the spectator: the distortion of perspective and form and the moody tonality of the heightened palette dramatize the painting’s relationship with the spectator, who in turn becomes a helpless or complicit participant in the events described.
This psychological tension is notably present in the paintings that Onyango dedicated to his relationship with Drosie. White and curvaceous, the young woman is represented in imaginary or real situations that compress all the fantasies that Africa projects onto the West. Whether depicting the couples’ alternating domination and submission or the fascination exercised by a life-style synonymous with luxury and wealth, Onyango succeeds in inverting stereotypes and denouncing their inherent violence.”
André Magnin
Curator of the Contemporary African Art Collection, Geneva

Email me if you are interested in buying these works

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lovemore Kambudzi - the eye of the people

The Need for Peace Through Diversity
2007/Oils on Canvas,/250 x 150 cm

Lovemore Kambudzi has never stopped painting the every day scenes from his beloved Zimbabwe where he is known as "The Eye of the People". Although he has attended residencies in New Zealand and Germany his heart has always remained firmly in Africa. With his unique style - his own blend of pointilism and cartoon-like depiction Kambudzi works tirelessly to document what is happening inside his own country. It is a very difficult task fit for heroes, even paint has to be sourced from neighbouring countries. This canvas is huge - two and a half metres by one and a half.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Richard Onyango's Sculpture

Richard Onyango is no stranger to sculpture having made several models of his beloved land rover, a miniature train and several other works over the years, but he is now turning his attention to larger works.
Above are life size sculptures of Drosie (the woman he was in love with the eighties and who died tragically nine months into their relationship) and himself, produced for the Malindi Biennale, these particular sculptures are now the subject of a court case about which I shall comment later after the case has been decided - suffice it to say the life for an artist in Africa can be rocky - but Richard has an extraordinary attitude - he bears no grudges, he is only concerned with wishing for others what he would wish for himself. Totally undaunted by the legal machinations surrounding his first large scale sculptures he is moving on to literally bigger things with plans to produce an enormous ship installation which will house other sculptures representing elements of his life from Drosie, to buses, other machines and even wild animals. I believe Richard's forthcoming sculpture will be amongst his most powerful work he has done, and I will keep you informed about it as the idea takes shape.
See more of Richard Onyango's work in Jean Pigozzi's great collection of Contemporary Africa Art

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Artist's working in Africa - Ed Cross - recent work

Sea Tree Oils on Paper, 100 x 80 cm, 2007

Head, after Harare , Oils on Paper, 100 x 80 cm , 2007

Lamu Garden Oils on Paper,100x80 cm,2007 (sold)

Eye of the Storm, Oils on Paper,100x80 cm ,2007

for further information contact

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Peterson Kamwathi's Kenyan Bulls

Woodcut plates and Stage Proofs, Peterson produces editions of up to two prints per woodcut.

for further information contact ed cross on

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Two African Contemporary Art Shows

Richard Onyango - Peponi Crossing Garsen Ferry in 1979 - Acrylic on canvas

Peterson Kamwathi - Kumbu Kumbu Woodcut print

Welcome to African Works - we are dedicated to the collection, promotion and sale of contemporary African Art.

If you are in or near Kenya, let me start by inviting you to two shows!

Paintings, prints and sculpture by eight exciting contemporary artists from Zimbabwe and Kenya
at The Talisman Restaurant, Karen, Nairobi on Tuesday 14th August

from 6.00 pm to August 27th 2007


New works by Richard Onyango, Peterson Kamwathi and Ed Cross
at Gallery Baraka, Lamu

Private View with Drinks 6.00 pm Saturday August 18th, to 15th September 2007
Richard Onyango is one of Kenya's most celebrated artists, long collected by the doyen of African contemporary art collecting, Jean Pigozzi for his Collection of Contemporary Art in Switzerland and exhibited in Africa Remix, the Venice Biennale and several other major international shows in Europe and the USA. In this group of work we see Richard turning his attention to both Lamu and the roads and ferries to Lamu from the seventies and eighties. Using his extraordinary powers of concentration and photographic memory he is able to "rewind the video cassette " as he puts it, and faithfully reconstruct the specific buses, boats and scenes from his boyhood of thirty years ago. I will be posting more about Richard's work in future...
Peterson Kamwathi is one of Kenya's rising art stars, a master printer who has trained at the London College of Printing, Peterson brings a purity of vision and purpose which is exceptional, his work is also unusually "contemporary" in that it has both conceptual and spiritual elements to it.

Those unable to attend but who would like to see more or better quality images of the work - please let me know by email at

I have posted here some images of work from both shows - with more to follow - if you would like to know more details and prices, please email me.

All the Best


Virginia Chihota - Untitled Silkscreen Print Cosmos Shiridzinomwa - Laundry Day II Oils on Canvas

Sikhulile P Sibanda Pattern of Life Colograph Print 3/50