Price is not an is­sue at this show

The East African - - MAGAZINE - - Kari Mutu

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.

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