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Discovering Connections between Kenyan and European Art in Nairobi

During the secondment in Nairobi (February 2022), the UNIMC team (proff. Stara, Deluigi, Capriotti, and dr. Manca) continued to explore the contemporary Kenyan art panorama, visiting more artists’ collectives, galleries, private studios, and meeting private collectors. The UNIMC team focused on the path of transcultural connections between Kenyan and European art, interviewing artists on this specific topic, and involving them in art education activities. Starting with the analysis of the production of Yegonizer (based in GoDown collective) it emerges a legacy with Vincent van Gogh. Whereas each brush stroke by Van Gogh expresses the sadness and the drama of his life, the brush of Yegonizer communicates the joy of Kenyan life experienced along the streets, in the markets, as well in dancing. Jimmy Kitheka, a young painter based in Karen Village, at present is getting ready to participate in the Biennale of Venice 2022, inspired by the rarefied atmospheres by Jan Vermeer and by the magic of candles in the international Caravaggism. Anne Mwiti, a well-established painter, whose creations moving from European expressionism dialogue both with African landscaping and with other contemporary trends. The sculptor Peter Kenyanya works on a personal interpretation of Neo-Primitivism, creating his artifacts within the context of Afro-Cubism. Starting from 2006 his sculptures became part of a major collection of Mr. Mutuma Marangu. The opportunity to meet the collector Marangu, on February 25th, allowed the team to appreciate his large collection of five Kenyan sculptors, as well as to network TPAAE and pursue cooperation between the TMMSC – The Mutuma Marangu Sculpture Collection and the UNIMC team.

On February 19th, the UNIMC team attended an Art Talk at NCAI – Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute on the occasion of the retrospective “I hope so” by master Sane Wadu, pioneer in the historical pictorial Kenyan context. The artist Wadu entertained with Yony Waite and Gakunju Kaigwa, in a conversation on a century of art making between the three artists.

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