The Nude Exhibition
Mercy Kagia was born and grew up in Nairobi before moving to the UK to attend art school. She gained a BA (Hons) in Illustration before moving on to a Masters in Drawing as Process. Her academic achievement culminated in a PhD in Documentary Drawing from Kingston University, London. She has been teaching in higher education since 2003 in various colleges and universities in London and Bavaria, Germany, as well as running drawing workshops in various countries.
She combines her academic career with practice and has exhibited widely in UK, Bahrain and Germany, as well as seen many of her commissioned portraits and observational drawings acquired around the world. Her work is mainly based on direct observation and for this she has been commissioned to document various events and projects as a reportage artist.
My early years in Kenya were characterized by active involvement with the art community of Nairobi. I exhibited at the different venues and galleries, opened and ran one of the first art schools in Nairobi and was a founder of the Artforce group. My work achieved much greater prominence when I joined One Off Gallery and continued to exhibit with it regularly.
After 16 years in Kenya I moved with my family to the UK and proceeded to expand my art practice there. I also continued with my studies in art, first at the University of Central England, then at the Wimbledon College of Art (University of Arts, London) and most recently at Birmingham City University. Last year I successfully completed a Masters degree in Art and achieved the first prize from the Gertrude Aston Bowater bequest for my project ‘Stripped’. I am a member of several art societies in the UK and Austria.
At the same time I regularly visited Kenya and eventually, made it my second home. At Diani on the South Coast, I built a new studio where I work for several months a year.
Kenyan heritage, the intensity of life and the rich cultural traditions provide an inspiration for my work and shape my art practice. My paintings which are dedicated to Africa are based on my ethnographic research of the fast disappearing traditions with a focus on the daily life and culture of nomadic people. These reveal a distinctive pallet of colours, strong contrasts of tones, rich textures and an attention to patterns. These qualities also become collective features of most of my paintings which cover many different genre and themes. My work can be seen in various private collections in many different countries.
Olivia Pendergast began creating art as a small child and preferred painting to school recess.
She attended art school for five years at Columbus College of Art and Design (USA) and began painting professionally a year after graduation.
Olivia is represented in galleries in the United States, Nairobi and Dubai. She prefers painting figuratives but also enjoys landscapes.
Olivia relocated from the Seattle area to Kenya in 2016. She has loved being a part of this show as it has been almost a decade since she has painted nudes.
Patrick Mukabi creates paintings that build on his strong belief in drawing and the traditions of painting, as well as an interest in the new changing world of art today.
Mukabi has been painting for more than seventeen years and has spent many hours learning in workshops held by master artists who include Sane Wadu, Chain Muhandi, Ancient Soi, Peter Klashorst (Netherlands), David Tremlet (UK), Ingrid Mwangi (Germany) and Elijah Ogira. His paintings and video art have been exhibited in Egypt, India, the Netherlands and the USA. He was awarded Best New Artist in the East African Industries show of 1999.
Mukabi now passes his knowledge to the next generation by teaching hobby classes in schools and taking apprentices into his studio. He recently opened an art space at the railways museum called the Dust-Depo where he provides space and materials for upcoming artists. He also co-presents a childrens’ TV show called Know Zone every Saturday morning on Citizen TV Channel. Mukabi lives in Nairobi.
Born and raised in Kenya and the UK, Anthony is an artist, designer, musician, philanthropist and conservationist with a passion for lions and Masai culture. Anthony’s public exhibitions and discreet private shows give a substantial percentage of the proceeds to philanthropic initiatives benefiting conservation.
Each series in his collection has been created using photographic images of memorable moments, connections with the natural world, animals and people collected over a thirty-year span. Working mostly with sepia tones, sharply contrasted with vivid tribal images and large iconic photographs, the combination is fused with a unique use of different media.
Anthony’s art is a gift that celebrates and honours the African continent and through his work he has found a way to capture an audience and open their eyes to the beauty of Africa. His art has a haunting quality about it and the canvases, imbued with a powerful sensuality, portray a potent sense of what Africa is about – a continent of contradictions, raw earthiness and a compelling beauty like no other.
Timothy was born into a family of four generations of architects and artists,
was as school at St. Mary’s Nairobi, and at 17 yrs went to England, studied Art and later worked in advertising, industry and teaching, and of course painting. He spent 21 yrs in Europe and returned to Kenya in 1981.
His painting is not subject specific as Timothy is primarily a painter of light and atmosphere. He does, however, draw deeply upon his African childhood.
As a student he was asked to stand in for one of his lecturers at an evening class and has been teaching formally and informally ever since.
Now in his seventh decade Timothy likes to be in his studio by 0730 am every day.
Selected Works from “Truth in Emotion”.
To create my work, I use varied techniques and materials I learned about as a sign/mural painter and my years spent as a painter in the custom automotive industry. I’ve used faux finishes, aging and airbrushing techniques, and some experimentation with different materials to create the many layers. Coming also from a Street Art background, I’m used to textured and imperfect surfaces found on the street so it was fun for me to explore the many ways I can create the texture or make it imperfect which, in turn, reflects the nature of human connection.
Although this is one of my first exhibitions in Kenya, I’m not new to the art scene. I’ve created murals for the University of Wyoming Art Museum, Finch Hattons Luxury Camp, JKIA, among others. In addition to painting, I am also a Movement Coach for kids and adults here in Nairobi.
Through this series of paintings, I aim to draw the viewer in, to interact with the work instead of viewing it from the outside. I want to create a situation where the viewer feels various emotions by looking at the pieces without feeling dirty or voyeuristic. I attempt to capture the truth in emotion at an exact moment of intimacy but this is not pornography or some crude objectification of women, as we see in so many places in the media. This is the truth in a moment; a feeling, a look, a sensation, that we, as people experience and share. I want us to be able to talk about sex and everything involving us as sexual beings in a positive and beautiful light. I want to challenge the dialogue and the taboos we’ve created. I want to challenge the slut - and virgin - shaming that has become so prevalent in our society and instead talk about our sexuality with grace, emotion and respect.
Ehoodi Kichapi (b. Jesse Ng’ang’a) is a self taught artist, who has been painting for the last fifteen years. His artistic life started in 2002, through doing caricatures as an instructor for the Kuruka Maisha art group. He had his first solo show in 2007 at the Alliance Francaise, in Nairobi, Kenya.
“His work is expressive and graphic: energetic line drawings, circles, marks, scribblings, figures, rudimentary images of animals, portraits, screaming faces and reaching hands create harsh and brutal images. Wild colourful acrylic paint is applied in thick sweeping strokes, creating abstract sections in his work that are just about colour and movement.” (From 2009 East African Art Biennale, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania).
Since being represented by One Off Gallery, Kichapi has successfully exhibited in Cape Town with Nini Gallery and in Madrid with Gazzambo Gallery.
Whilst he credits Francis Bacon, Mark Rothko and Jean-Michel Basquiat as his inspiration, he is fast achieving his own individual practice and a strong, often witty, original voice.
Michael W. Soi (1972) is a Kenyan artist who has been working in Nairobi since 1995 after completion of his fine art and art history studies.
Soi is inspired by contemporary life in Nairobi. His work provides a photographic diary of Nairobi and is a satirical commentary of social, economic and political trends. His work explores relationships - intergenerational, interracial or generally what he calls the economics of love, commercial sex work and popular culture within the context of globalization & consumerism.
A hallmark of his art is his unique vision and highly distinctive style usually brightly-coloured paintings with black outlines that are illustrative in nature and are both playful and biting. They are informed by a strong tradition of cartoonists whose works have satirized Kenyan society since independence - often bravely poking fun at the political establishment.
He has participated in numerous workshops & residencies; exhibited widely locally and internationally; and has a huge following of collectors and enthusiasts globally.
He lives and works in Nairobi – Kenya.