Wanjiku was born in Nairobi in 1978. She received her diploma from Nairobi's Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts in 2000 and is now a rising star on the Kenyan contemporary art scene.
Her works explore and interrogate themes about the shifting nature of human beings, existentialism, our capacity for consciousness, self-awareness and ability to overcome external controls on behavior and ultimately our inherent ability to transform. Her works offer an insight into the eternal quest to understand our realities.
To date her works fall into four distinct phases, starting with the 'Mortality' series. In her work of this period, she explores questions of mortality, immortality and identity arising from the experience of a profound loss.
In her next phase, X-ray prints appear as if she is attempting to peer into the very soul of her subject. There is a recurring theme through much of her later work, which sometimes show a sense of urgency and frustration, and the need to strip away the carapace of the facade or to touch the tenderness of an internal reality; at times her work echoes an easement to acceptance and understanding this truth.
The third phase bears the influences of her three month residency in Vermont, USA. The 'Occupy' movement was entrenched in Wall Street at the time. A collage of newspaper clippings and icons of America are layered into the canvases she produced during this period.
The last phase continues the search for the soul. With weeping teeth, internal conflict and titles such as 'The Strangeness of My Madness', it admits to being an introspection of an altogether more personal nature.
Wanjiku lives and works in Nairobi.
Selection of works
Click thumbnail to enlarge and scroll through all images
2017 - VOLTA New York, Invitational Solo Presentation Project Fair, USA
2016 - 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, New York
2016 - 'Divine Discontent' (A Straightjacket Series) - One Off Contemporary Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
2015 - Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner – Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York
2015 - “The African Tree” The OSTRALE 2015 - Dresden, Germany
2015 - KunstRAI 2015 Edition 31
2015 - “Concerning the Internal”, Circle Art Agency, Nairobi
2015 - Creativity Gallery, Nairobi National Museum
2015 - ‘Welcome Back From London,” One Off Contemporary Art Gallery, Nairobi
2014 - “Pop up Africa”, Gallery of African Art, Cork Street, London, UK
2014 - "Beauty & Ugliness", One off Contemporary Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
2014 - "Paper", Circle Art Agency, Nairobi, Kenya
2013 - Devearts’ Meaning Africa, Weissenbruchzaal, Pulchri Studio, Hague, Netherlands
2013 - “Africa Now”, African Modern & Contemporary Art and a charity auction of Kenyan Contemporary Art. 101 Bond Street, London, UK
2012 - Funika - Fufuka/Cover- Recover, Belgium Ambassadors
Residence, Nairobi, Kenya
2012 - Solo Exhibition, One off Contemporary Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
2010 - “Africa: The Mother of Us All”, Columbia City Gallery, Seattle, USA
2010 - “Politics of Art and The Art of Politics”, video installation, Kuona Trust, Nairobi, Kenya
2009 - “Artist without Borders” Triangle exhibition
2009 - Solo Exhibition, RaMoMA Museum of Modern Art, Nairobi, Kenya
2008 - "Africa Now", The World Bank, Washington DC, USA
2008 - “How I like it,” artist initiative for the displaced
2008 - Contemporary Art in Kenya 2 years on. French Cultural Centre
2007 - “Three some”, The Godown Art Center, Nairobi, Kenya
2006 - “Africa Within: Many Eyes One Soul”, The Royal Commonwealth
Society, London, UK
2005 - Bankside Gallery London, UK
2004 - “Utopia”, RaMoMA Museum of Modern Art, Nairobi, Kenya
2013 - Djerassi Residency Artist Program, San Francisco USA
2011 - The Vermont Studio Center Johnson, Vermont, USA
2006 - Kuona Trust, 10th International Artists Residency
2013 - The Lava Thomas and Peter Danzig Fellowship
2013 - Unesco Aschberg Bursary for the Djerassi Residents Artists Program, USA
2012 - Dak’Art Biennale Moving Art Africa, Goethe Institut, Senegal
2011 - Robert Sterling Clark Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center, USA
2006 - Most Promising Female Artist Award, Alliance Francaise French Cultural Centre
Business Daily - 26-05-2016 - Artist’s works explore the dark recesses of human consciousness
EastAfrican - 7-05-2016 - Wanjiku featured No 1 in New York’s African art fair
EastAfrican - 7-05-2016 - Conflicting values? you can bank on it...
Jua Kali Diary, Margaretta Wa Gachuru - 7-04-2014 - Beatrice Wanjiku at One Off
EastAfrican - 4-03-14 - The Circle that keeps on turning
EastAfrican - 10-01-2014 - Dark thoughts in the dead of the night
EastAfrican - 29-01-2012 - Drawing a veil over meaning
Beatrice Wanjiku is exclusively represented in East Africa by One Off