Tuesday, 29 August 2017



BY Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted August 30, 2017)

Mercy Kagia had only been back in Nairobi less than a year when she got a call from her friend, the award-winning Kenyan filmmaker Hawa Essuman inviting her to be part of her latest project.
Hawa is holding a Silent Art Auction tomorrow, September 2rd from noon to 4pm in the garden of the Circle Art Gallery. 
“We are not involved in the auction per se,” said Circle’s co-owner and curator Danda Jaroljmek who is featuring a one-man exhibition of Michael Soi’s latest paintings in the main gallery. It opened last Wednesday night and will run through the month of September. “We just donated the garden for the auction which we were happy to do,” Danda added.

Hawa knew she had asked for Mercy’s contribution to her auction at short notice. But Dr Kagia has kept a relatively low profile since her return from Germany where she’d been teaching fine art and drawing at university. Actually, she recently had two drawings in ‘The Nude’ exhibition at One Off Gallery. She has also given a few Life Drawing classes at the Polka Dot Gallery where she’ll hold another such class tomorrow morning from 9am to noon in the Karen gallery.

But Hawa was hoping that Mercy could donate one of her recent drawings to auction for a worthy cause. Quite a few well known Kenyan artists had already agreed to take part and their work will be on display on Saturday. They include Chelenge Van Rampelberg, Beatrice Wanjiku, Justus Kyalo, Zihan Kassam-Herr, Maral Bolouri and Mwini Mutuku among others.

Mercy naturally agreed to donate one of her drawings since she’s a friend to Hawa and her sister Rafia who needs to go abroad for health reasons.
“Many local artists have wanted to be part of the auction since they know and respect Hawa who’s best known for her directing of the film, ‘Soul Boy’,” said Zihan Kassam-Herr.

A silent auction tends to allow art collectors a rare opportunity to buy established artists’ works at affordable prices. This should attract collectors who are aware that artists like Beatrice and Mercy have exhibited and sold their artworks overseas where the price ranges for fine art are relatively higher than what art sells for in this country.

What finally should make the art of some of Kenya’s finest artists affordable on Saturday is the hope in Hawa’s heart that she and her fellow artists will finally be able to assist Rafia who has a rare condition which could complicate the double hip surgery that she requires as soon as possible.

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