Price is not an issue at this show
The annual Affordable Art Show was held at the Nairobi National Museum from November 3 to 5. A total of 334 pieces by local artists were on display around the garden courtyard of the museum. The event is so named because all the art is priced at under Ksh100,000 ($1,000) apiece.
The three-day show achieved 38 per cent sales, a record for the organisers and quite an achievement considering that many galleries are happy with 15 per cent sales. This is one of the few shows in which aspiring local artists without representation or a strong reputation can present their works to a broad audience. And this year, for the first time, there was a section on photography.
The rusty corrugated iron sheets paintings by Adam Massava depicting scenes from the informal settlements of Nairobi where he grew up, Gabbra women herding camels by Paul Otieno, and Tanzania’s Haji Chilonga who presented abstract illustrations were my favourite pieces.
From established artists, there were heavily textured paintings of rural and ocean scenes by Samuel Njuguna and veteran artist Cartoon (Joseph Njuguna) presented his signature pictures in a colourful riot of intricate images tightly packed together.
Patrick Kinuthia’s Dawn was unusual for being painted on green canvas; the woman’s headwrap was painted in limited, loose brushstrokes with attention given to the flesh tones of her face and shoulders.
Harrison Mburu once again submitted a set of goat and antelope sculptures from recycled metal. He has not changed his style much over the years, just refined the figures. Adrian Nduma opted for a pair of semi-abstract paintings of landscapes with wildebeest and donkeys drinking from a pool.
Also exhibiting were Lutengano Mwakisopile from Tanzania, Hassan Fadul of Sudan, Stephen Lobalu of South Sudan, Agondanou Miguelle Irmine of Benin, and from Uganda Leonard Katete, Anwar Sadat and Paul Kasambeko.
The exhibition was organised by the Kenya Museum Society with the support of Safaricom Ltd, Commercial Bank of Africa and St Austin’s Service Centre. Part of the proceeds will go towards projects at the museum.