The latest show presented by Sankara Hotel and One Off Gallery is titled 'Contrasts' featuring new works by Erick Shitawa, Sophie Walbeoffe, Richard Kimathi and Alex Hamawi. A few paintings by Sudan's Rashid Diab will also be featured. From the hyper realism of Hamawi's paintings to the quirky symbolism of Shitawa's works and from the arid desert of Sudan to the lush pastures of the Mara, the show aims to highlight contrasts.
The exhibition at Sankara will be Hamawi's first in Kenya. As a graduate of two of Britain's greatest art institutions; The Slade School of Fine Art and The Royal Academy of Art, Hamawi is highly skilled and the intricate detail in his work reflects this. There is also a hint of the surreal to his chosen subjects; from the windmill in the Mara landscape to the Impala with the Nairobi skyline behind them, to the eerie quality of the smooth barked trees, all reflect a magical quality.
Erick Shitawa is a less well known, though a much established Kenyan artist who has been active since 1995. Trained in graphics at Kenya Polytechnic his works display an instantly recognisable tangle of subject matter. Symbols, architecture, humans and animals all compete for space. All are rendered in bright acrylic turned with significant amounts of white, the works are a fascinating commentary on everyday life in Kenya with everything from the action of the 'World Food Program in Yatta' to 'Lactating Mothers', from 'Entebbe picturesque' to 'Kanamai Shopping Center' being the focus of the compositions.
Sophie Walbeoffe is one of Kenya's most successful artists. Now showing regularly in both London and Dubai she also has a growing international following. In this exhibition she returns to some of her favourite subjects; Camels, a seascape and a still life. All her work displays her wonderful brushwork (she paints simultaneously with a brush in each hand) and with the still life in particular the rendering is in gorgeous, mouth watering colours.
Richard Kimathi once again exhibits new work; 'Empty shows' explores the dynamics of political protest whilst 'Bubbles' effectively explores the intricacies of human relationships. Both works are mixed media on canvas with Kimathi's characteristic canvas cut outs pasted to yet more canvas. Arguably one of the leading artists in the region, Kimathi never disappoints with the quality of his exquisite painting.
Lastly, the show will feature works by the Sudanese 'Super star', Rashid Diab. The works exhibited are typical of Diab's latest theme of brightly veiled women stepping in and out of different 'planes'. Or could these be time zones? Or realities? Or could they indeed be passing from life to death? Diab may as well be exploring the fate of migrants? The price tag on these works is contextualized by his works currently selling in the middle East for five figure dollar sums!
Preview of Works
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