Thursday, May 6

The African soul laid bare in Airkenya lounge exhibit

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The departures lounge atAirkenya hosts the work of Richard Kimathi, possibly the finest artist in Kenya today.

Richard was born in Nyeri, Kenya and achieved a diploma from Nairobi Creative Art Centre with a major in Graphic Design. As a recipient of the prestigiousRuth Hunt Wood Artist in Residence Program he went on to spend a semester at Kentucky University in the USA, winning early acclaim in 2000 when, along with images by Matisse and Vermeer, his painting ‘Living Single’ was chosen to grace a United Nations stamp. He went on to represent Kenya at Dak’Art in Dakar, Senegal and has recently held a solo
exhibition at Gazzambo Gallery in Madrid, Spain.

Two sets of paintings are displayed: ‘Spot The Difference’ and the‘ Cat Stories’ series. Kimathi’s painting pushes expressionism to its logical limit: he seems to capture the human soul itself. And he does so in a most remarkable way.

First he strips away all the features unique to faces: the colour and shape of the eyes, the line of the mouth, the shape of the nose, the colour of the skin – all the featureswe might expect to define identity, The African soul laid bare in Airkenya lounge exhibit of life and an appreciation for the hardiness of the living. Richard paints the human soul – in African colours.
If you ask someone: ‘what’s your favourite movie?’, you’ll get: ‘ah, it’s… no wait, perhaps it’s um… no it must be…’. But if you ask: ‘what’s your favourite scene in a movie’, that’s easy: ‘remember that part when…’. Richard’s art is like that: precise moments in the
middle of a before and after, capturing perfectly an idea and expressing it exquisitely. These images are not for viewing, they’re for hanging-out with.But be warned: leave a little time because some them will pull up a chair and sit down beside you.

More of Richard’s work can be viewed at One Off’s contemporary art gallery: The Loft, #16 Rosslyn Lone Tree – open Tuesday
through Sunday, 11am to 5pm or by appointment on 0722 521870. With a little notice, any of the works too big to be flat packed into a suitcase can be dismounted and rolled into a more manageable tube.

By Dominic Martins


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