Friday, 28 September 2018


                                                                              Ron Enoch Luke's ladies from home

By margaretta wa gacheru (posted 28 September 2018)
                                                                                      Deng Chol of Sudan
Kenyan artists have been donating their art to worthy causes in recent times. A fortnight ago, a number of them were donating to the TNR Trust to help raise funds for a clinic committed to vaccinating dogs for rabies and neutering stray cats and dogs. The Silent Auction in which their art was being bid on and sold helped to earn the TNR (stands for Track, Neuter and Release) more than a million shillings.
Now at the Kobo Trust in Kilimani, a whole other group of a dozen local artists has mounted an exhibition at the Trust’s gallery to raise funds for the education of several orphans who have been sponsored by Kobo over the last seven years.
                                                                                                   Gemini Vaghela

“Since the five are just completing their form four exams, they will soon be going off to college, so they’ll be needing extra support,” says Marvin Njeru, Kobo’s communications officer.
                                                                                               Lemek Tompoika

That’s how the artists who actually have studios at Kobo got involved in contributing their art for the sake of the five whose lives have already been dramatically transformed by the founder of the Trust, Gabriel Gonzalez and its trustee Clara Garcias.
                                                                                                           Paul Njihia

“Kobo Safaris was also founded by Gabriel,” says Franklin Mawira, project manager for the Trust. “Gabriel is someone who cares about vulnerable children but both he and Clara also care about the arts and artists,” Mawira adds.

“It was really thanks to David Thuku and Onyis Martin that the exhibition got curated in time,” says Ann McCreath, fashion designer and founder of KikoRomeo who is also based at the Kobo.
                                                                               KikoRomeo by Ann McCreath

"Thuku and Onyis, who both have studios at the Trust, managed to assemble artworks by a dozen local artists who either have a history with Kobo, like Kaloki Nyamai, John Kamicha and Peter Elungat. Or they are currently working out of the same Riara Road space that shares the compound with Kobo Safaris.

Among the artists based at the Trust whose works are also up in the Trust’s vast gallery are Paul Njihia, Lemek Tompoika, Gemini Vaghela, Ron Enoch Luke, Okamar Onesmus, Deng chol, Ann McCreath, Onyis and Thuku.

                                                                         Kaloki Nyama 
Their art represents a diverse range of what we know to be contemporary Kenyan art. For while Ron Luke’s paintings are hyper-realistic and Njihia’s comes close to that style in this show, the works by Gemini and Deng are abstract and have appeal for their lines, colors and designs. Meanwhile, Kaloki, Onyis, Thuku and Lemek all donated semi-abstract pieces to the exhibition, all of which convey deeper meanings one can only deduce by digging into the artists’ souls.
Elungat has brought several of his vintage works to the exhibition, each reflecting a period in his painterly past which he has since broken free from. They’re ethereal images of idyllic beauties. Only one of his works contrasts with these, reflecting a rather dystopic cement-styled landscape. So one can only assume Elungat’s art is in transition, which is a good thing.
                                                                                                       David Thuku

Finally, the works by Kamicha and Onesmus have an ambiguity to their art that leaves one wondering what they mean to say.

Only Ann McCreath brings elegance and glamor to the show by featuring two full length cloaks, designed in a regale style that’s slightly reminiscent of the cloak worn by the King whose costume she created specially for Tinga Tinga Tales the Musical.
                                                                                      John Kamicha
The Kobo Trust artists show has been extended through October 27th so one still has time to lend support to the children that Kobo kindly supports.
                                                                         Onyis Martin


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