For this artistic presentation, Kenyan contemporary art is brought to the forefront of the contemporary art scene through “Common Ground“. A sensational group show featuring four contemporary artists, all from Kenya. Until September 23, 2023, the NCAI art space, Rosslyn Riviera, Nairobi, will host the works of Elias Mung’ora, Morris Foit, Paul Njihia and Peterson Kamwathi, for a stunning pictorial journey around unity and relationships held in the physical and social spaces of their immediate environment.
The “Common Ground” exhibition is an artistic presentation that brings together the work of four artists currently active in Kenya. The works depict social groups, in particular uniformed officers, students, demonstrators and families. Using media such as painting, sculpture and drawing, “Common Ground” highlights artworks produced over the past decade. Among them are a large-scale drawing by Peterson Kamwathi dating from 2012 and a recently completed set of sculptures by Morris Foit, both from the NCAI collection. A few meters away rests an important painting by Elias Mung’ora from 2017, as well as a selection of works from an ongoing series by Paul Njihia.
Born in 1992 in Nyeri, Elias Mung’ora began his studies in real estate and asset management before changing course and turning to a career in the arts.His main mode of expression is painting, which he combines with other media such as drawing and photo collage. Elias Mung’ora uses his art as a tool for exploring the complexity and multiplicity of his homeland’s narratives.
However, he focuses his research more on the history of the land and the influence of colonialism on his relationships with others.Currently studying anthropology at the University of Nairobi, the Kenyan artist has been an active member of Brush Tu Artist Studio since 2015.An Absa L’Atelier finalist in 2017, Elias Mung’ora’s work has featured among numerous exhibitions in Kenya, South Africa, Italy, the United States and France.
Morris Foit is one of Kenya’s best-known sculptors. Born in 1940, he renames himself Morris Foit after Francis M. Foit, a Czech tutor he first met in 1966. Foit recognized the young artist’s talent and helped lay the foundations of the contemporary artist’s sculptural practice by giving him his first sculpture lessons.
Morris Foit first took a 14-year break from the Kenyan army to support his family. He then returned to his homeland and took up his art once again, exhibiting his first works at the Watatu gallery in Nairobi. The Kenyan artist mainly uses wood to create intricate, transient sculptures. His creations testify to his deep understanding of the material and represent key moments in the life cycle and the observation of social relationships.
Paul Njihia‘s work is particularly figurative, drawing on his experiences in social environments and emphasizing the social aspect of his practice. Born in 1991, he began his artistic career in 2010 with commissioned portraits to earn a living while still studying at university. Becoming a full-time artist after graduating in 2013, he joined the Kuona Trust Art Centre in January 2014. Paul Njihia currently resides at Kobo Trust Studios in Nairobi, Kenya.
Born in 1980, Peterson Kamwathi is a Kenyan artist renowned for his artistic practice, which focuses on community, social, economic and cultural positions within contemporary society. Based in Limuru, Kenya, his art serves as a tool for exploring the behaviors, physical presence, latent meanings and embedded symbolisms perceptible within collective and religious political models, human groupings and social mores.
Peterson Kamwathi was featured in the Kenyan national pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. He also participated in the Young Congo Biennale 2019 in Kinshasa, Congo DRC and the 8th edition of the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Lagos, 2020. His works are also part of numerous collections around the world including the British Museum, World Bank headquarters, Safaricom, East African Visual Arts Trust’s Bates College of Art, among others.