Richard Kimathi 2018 Exhibition
About the exhibition
Richard Kimathi was born in 1971 in Nyeri, Kenya. He received a diploma from the Nairobi Creative Art Center with a major in Graphic Art. Upon graduation, he turned to Fine Art as a career.
Kimathi has participated in international artists’ workshops and has had his work exhibited widely internationally: In 2000, Kimathi’s painting “Living Single,” was chosen for a United Nations postage stamp. Other artists chosen for the same project were Matisse and Vermeer. He was the recipient of the 2001 Ruth Hunt Wood Foundation Residency as artist in residence at the University of Kentucky, USA. In 2006, Kimathi represented Kenya at DaK’Art in Dakar, Senegal. October 2010 saw Kimathi holding a solo show in Madrid, Spain. He has also exhibited in London, Italy, Paris and Switzerland. Early last year his work was exhibited as part of Robert Devereux's collection at Heong Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge. Most recently he represented the land of his birth at the Venice Biennale 2017.
In the post-meritocratic Trumpian age, where glory is by self-proclamation and empathy is eschewed as weakness, or worse as political-correctness, Richard Kimathi is a wretch in the probity of our Brave New World: he cares not for pre-eminence; nor fame and glory; nor riches and unrepentantly exhibits a manifest caring for his fellow human being. Such depravity is unconscionable, but there it is, on the wall, in front of your very eyes.
His empathy is what defines his art. It is ever-present as the sub-text of his inquiry into the world around him which, in turn, is the singular preoccupation of his art. It's never about himself. In reduced tones of diminished detail in a flattened space of generic forms he delivers profound commentary on our relationships, our society and our humanity. Without bling and hype or other aggrandisements evident in so much of the art of our contemporary mass-mediated world, his shrewd observation of human emotion frequently projects a suffering: not patronising or sentimental; dignified, heroic even but without self-pity; a suffering borne stoically, as if merely the price of living and portrayed with a caring and compassion elegant in both it's simplicity and honesty. This is very much the dignity of the Kenyan people, expressed beautifully in the colours of it's finest artist. Such emotional discharge, by analysis, should not be possible with his approach. But there it is in megavolts.
Unsolicitous though he is, the regard in which he is held by his Kenyan peer group has earned him the epithet 'The Artists' Artist'. That reputation is much deserved but such is the uniqueness of this artist in tone, temperament and talent that his rightful domain of recognition is beyond Kenya and Africa; it's global.
Daily Nation - 08-09-2018 - Kimathi explores meaning of manliness in solo show
EastAfrican - 08-09-2018 - GALLERIES: Bare knuckle bit to K.O prejudice
Preview of Works
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Exhibition openings are usually on the last Saturday of every month, excluding December. The gallery remains open on Sundays allowing anyone who missed the opening to catch the exhibition the next day. Do join our mailing list so we can send you an invitation.