#ArtNews: Wasanii Jukwani Project launches at Villa Rosa Kempinski


Villa Rosa Kempinski in partnership with Kuona Trust will host an annual 5-day event dubbed Wasanii Jukwaani (in Swahili meaning Artists on Stage) from Monday, 25th April – Friday, 30th April 2016.

Wasanii Jukwaani aims to create a platform for young upcoming artists to showcase their skill. The artists will spend the week at the Villa Rosa Kempinski, working on original pieces of art. Positioned at the guests’ areas, the artists  will have the opportunity to interact with the hotel guests, as well as lovers of art, and take them through a step-by-step process of how they come up with their unique pieces.

Fifteen Kenyan artists, including Collins Okelo, famously renowned for  sketching Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Barack Obama’s portrait, will be working on a special art on various medium to create new and original artworks in the hotel.

This year’s theme is ‘Conservation of Elephants”. The artists have however been given a lee-way to create their own-inspired art to allow them to showcase their best. 20% of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Wild Aid for Elephant Conservation. The works of art will be auctioned on Saturday 30th  April.

Here are some of the featured  Kenyan artists:

Artist: Clavers Odhiambo

Odhiambo has been practicing art since 2013. He gets most of his inspiration from Renaissance art and defines his artworks as realistic. Odhiambo works around human figures, bodies, and likes exploring skin textures such as old faces and wrinkled skin. He has successfully participated in 23 art exhibitions, events and takes his paintings as a way of challenging his already existent artistic skills.

Artist: Jessica Atieno

Atieno works in an array of mixed media and installation to explore themes of feminism, modernity and political justice, with special inspiration drawn from the woman’s place in society. Her works have been exhibited in various shows across Kenya as well as in the East African region.

Artist: James Njoroge

Njoroge has loved art since he was small. Raised by a single mother, his inspiration is pegged on everything he has undergone in his life. His experiences during his upbringing and observations of everything that surround him are the basis of his art. He has done solo exhibition at the National Museums of Kenya in 2013 and various joint exhibitions including the Circle Agency ‘Paper’ & ‘Paper II’ show. Njoroge aims to fight injustices with his art.

Artist: Boniface Maina

Maina has been practicing visual art since 2009. His work is inspired by practically anything that sparks or triggers a reaction in him. He thinks of himself as an evolutionary artist because his work evolves with time. As an artist, he looks to spark conversations, provoke or stir emotions with his work.

Artist: Kevin Irungu

29 year old Irungu started as a street artist doing signage for shops in Kibera before starting to show in the gallery. Today he works on a blend of signage and a contemporary touch in his works and has participated in many local and international workshops, exhibitions and projects.

Artist: Samuel Githui

Samuel’s work genre depicts the day to day impressions of the people and typical activities around him, political subjects, personal issues affecting him and the people around him. Samuel has travelled and has shown his work globally but lives in Nairobi where his inspiration is much more prominent; His current practice tries to investigate the ever moving and shifting societal trials and tribulations that has always been part and parcel of him.

Artist: Mosoti Kepha

36 year old Mosoti has been practicing art for the past 10 years. He is inspired by shapes and objects and enjoys the connection that all these bring in his work. He uses art to capture life’s beauty and to make it permanent. This can be seen through his most recent works.  He has had his work published in the Star Magazine as well as the East African Magazine.

Artist: Joseph Weche

Weche has been practicing art for the past 8 years. The 28 year old is drawn to art by his ability to pass a massage with his bare hands- through a painting. He is inspired by the environment, his interactions with people from different walks of life, and the connections that different people have with each other and with their environment. He mostly captures issues that affect the society such as health and the economy.

Artist: Collins Okello

27 year old Okello is renowned for being commissioned to create a painting of President Barrack Obama- a painting he was gifted during his maiden visit to Kenya in 2015. He has also drawn a painting of President Uhuru Kenyatta, gifted to the Kenyan president on his birthday. Okello draws his inspiration from nature- capturing moments in nature such as faces and landscapes, with a special focus on human figures.

Artist: Shabu Mwangi

Shabu would like for the world to see what he can do with his mere hands. He is inspired by what is happening in the society at the moment. The 30 year old Art Therapy professional has showcased his work in both local and international galleries with some of his paintings being displayed in collective shows in the USA and Germany.

Artist: Handerson Kiruri

Growing up in the vibrant neighborhoods of Nairobi, Kiruri was inspired by the street art on public service vehicles “matatus”. This “unconventional” art form was supper creative, stuck a major cord in his mind and drew him to art. He then ventured into street art because it is relevant, aesthetically appealing and full of content that is thought provoking. This form of art requires a very conscious mind, concrete research, daring charm and guts, all which Kiruri is known for.

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