Thom Ogonga Exhibition
An inquiry into how urbanization transforms social behavior in rural spaces, both culturally and morally.
As an artist, I am interested in the daily happenings of the space I live in and even more fascinated by the nocturnal activities. All the things that color the night; bar brawls, disco scenes, gambling, prostitution etc. excite the artist in me and feature prominently in my work.
It is intentionally very figurative and representative of a “typical day out” and is most often satirical of our hypocritical culture of being “responsible citizens” during the day and the total opposite when the sun goes down.
I am also interested in identity and socio-political narratives and interrogation as sub themes of my work though on individual project basis. These are mainly driven by the political situation in my country; bad governance, cronyism, corruption and our lack of a clear identity as a result of being Africans strongly influenced by colonization, religion and global consumerism.
In my current body of work, Village Gentrification, I am looking at urbanization and how I have seen Kabete transform from a village to a small town. While other people see physical infrastructure as ‘development’, I am interested in the habits that the village acquires when it rapidly transforms to a perceived middle class and how it affects the inhabitants social behavior, where farmers suddenly become landlords, village girls become slay queens and wi-fi becomes the most important commodity.
These works are ‘partly’ inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s philosophical novel “The Brothers Karamazov” and are an interrogation of human behaviour while questioning the concept of ‘free will’ using real characters while combining fact and (some) fiction to address alcohol and drug abuse which is rampant in my neighbourhood. Most are actual scenes and people I interact with daily - used to make a pictorial diary of the space I've been living in for the last 9 years. They are mainly black and white limited edition prints greatly influenced by the Weimar artists - George Grosz, Otto Dix & Max Beckmann and their use of black as a color as opposed to the theory of black as being an absence of color.
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.