Stanley Cheche: Creating Art on Social Issues While Putting Kenya on Canvas

Stanley Cheche, a talented visual artist based in Nairobi, started pursuing art at a very young age when he stumbled on a book that belonged to his cousin filled with caricatures. He started sketching in an attempt to imitate the caricatures and he hasn’t stopped painting to this day.

Stanley’s style of painting is very unique and this is something that caught our attention. He uses paper instead of canvas which is popularly used, and soft pastels to paint and fixes his paintings with hair spray.

“I used to keep half of my pocket money and pawn my high school shopping to make more money to afford paint, painting knives, colours and other tools. Most of the things I have today, I bought them at that time.”

His art teacher in high school would send to him, older students to train them and this really propelled his love and passion for art. He used this chance to also earn a living from it. “ I drew calligraphy designs on my fellow students’ certificates and made some money out of this,” says Cheche.

The self taught artist describes his work as impressionism and is using his work paintings to highlight mostly political, social and economic events from his environment.

“I want to talk about the woman who wakes up early every day, works very hard but also the leader she voted for who does not make changes that improves the situation for this woman.”

“Mtu Wetu Syndrome”

Stanley using his art to paint the painful story and raise awareness on Female Genital Mutilation.

“The piece Nation Builder, that featured on Safaricom’s 2019 calendar was inspired by the Jua Cali sector and life in Eastlands. Growing up, I had a metallic home bank; a metallic box which was all made by artisans in Gikomba. I wanted to document and recognize the work they do.” It was his breakthrough, something he is very proud of, to have been featured in the Safaricom Calendar. It gave him the platform to showcase his art every month.

“Being featured on This is My Kenya really humbled me. Knowing that almost every homestead has my work hanging on their wall makes me very happy.” Through his work and exposure, he has hit significant milestones by participating in a number of group exhibitions organised by the Godown Art Centre under the Manjano programme by the National Museum of Kenya.

Over the last 18 years Safaricom has extended its vision of transforming lives beyond the provision of relevant products and services, to investment in the arts through various initiatives including the annual This Is My Kenya campaign. There’s more interest and appreciation for art today than there was a few years ago and with the #KenyaonCanvas project, artists are able to tell the beautiful, untold stories of Kenya.

This campaign seeks to celebrate local creative talent in writing, photography, film, illustration and painting and art, and has evolved into an award-winning campaign that not only offers valuable exposure to local creatives; it showcases Kenya’s wildlife, landscapes and cultures through powerful imagery and storytelling.

Art is a catalyst for positive transformation in all areas of human development and personal growth. Art has the potential to raise awareness about our individuality and humanity, our relationship to others and our bond with our environment. Art lovers have an opportunity to see the work done by these artists and bid for their favorite pieces here.

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