As an aspiring art professional, I always have an eye out for unique art wherever I go. I am a sucker for the classics, but I get a thrill out of finding contemporary artists that appeal to my personal tastes.
While in Kenya, I visited the Nairobi National Museum but I couldn’t take pictures in the photo gallery, as those pieces were for sale. However, I found myself “oohing” and “aahing” too much to just look at the paintings and walk away. So I jotted down the names of the artists and decided to look them up when I got home. I’m glad that I did, because now I can share these talented creators with you all!
As it turns out, the many of the pieces featured in the Nairobi National Museum were done by local graffiti artists. The main three artists featured in the gallery – Kaymist4, Thufu B, and Msale – have formed a street art group named the Bomb Squad Crew. Their art is featured on the website BSQArt.com.
Work by Kaymist4
I had problems viewing the pages of the website, but I’m not sure if that is because the website has portion under construction or because I’m located outside of Kenya. In any case, you may have more success in navigating the website. I’m still researching the best way to purchase some of their pieces.
Work by Msale
Two more artists that were featured were Ssali Yusuf (who is actually Ugandan, not Kenyan) and Remy Musindi. Both artists skillfully use color, though Musindi’s color choices tend to be more subdued, while Yusuf’s are more saturated and crisp.
Piece by Remy Musindi
The trend I noticed in the artwork that I saw was vivid rendering of the female form. A focus on portraying the beautiful faces of African women is a common theme in Kenyan art. As an art lover that prefers portraiture over landscape and abstract paintings, I can appreciate the theme.
If you are interested in buying art online, I highly recommend that you use a reputable third party to handle the transaction, even if the purchase is relatively inexpensive. Galleries like Artspace, Saatchi Art and UGallery specialize in connecting artists with collectors, and they can work out details like shipping and proper framing. You can find more more online galleries through this link.