26 Jul Kaloki Nyamai – The past, the present and the future

Mr Trump, in colourful language says, we are inferior countries. We bristle. How dare he? But we also question ourselves. Might he be right? Whose fault is it? The colonialist who eviscerated our pre-colonial systems and who still treat us like indulged children? Or should we blame ourselves? Should we be hopeful? Have we been consumed by apathy?

The Kenyan artist, Kaloki Nyamai paints on canvas. He creates layers and layers of oil – dense and intricate, hinting at stories in the past left untold. He employs all sorts of material – ropes, photography, threads. He stitches the canvases together sometimes. At other times, the canvases trail haphazardly. The ever-present cattle hints at the African cultural past – the Masai heritage and the idea of cattle as a symbol of plenitude. His figures exist with white boxes outlining their heads – a symbol of the varied visions we all carry defining how we interpret events before us.

He explores the confluence of our past, our present and our future; how our past, especially colonization, continues to influence who we are today.

He explores who we are today – the African. Our hopes, our struggles, our place in the world.

He asks the question about himself and the rest of us. He keeps asking these questions in his multi-layered, expansive art, prodding at our imagination, hoping he can expand the box we exist in.

African Stories Exhibition. Hourglass Gallery. 4 pm July 27.