Paa ya Paa Art Gallery is calling on artists who have their artworks stored there to collect their pieces, apparently because they are running out of space. In a Facebook post made on Thursday July 16, the centre invited the artists for chai – probably the delicious grass tea made by the generous host Mzee Elimo Njau – on Saturday July 18, at 10.30 am.

 

Elimo Njau and his lovely wife Philda

Elimo Njau and his lovely wife Philda

Could this lack of space be the result of the court ordered subdivision of the five-acre plot, Paa ya Paa sits on? Following a court dispute between Elimo and his first wife Rebecca Njau, a Nairobi court ordered that the land be divided into two equal parts, with the other part going to Rebecca. The last time Maisha Yetu checked, the other part, which hosts, the famous Freedom Fighter sculpture, had already been fenced off.

It now remains to be seen whether artists will heed the call and collect the pieces. This might present logistical challenges to some of them, especially those with more than one pieces, more so if they are framed, as most artists lack efficient means of transportation.

Reproduced below is the Facebook post. Note that there was a typo in the date, whereby it reads 2025 instead of 2015.

Paa Ya Paa
Call For Artists –
KARIBU CHAI
Saturday, July 18, 2025
10:30 a.m.
We invite the following artists to Paa Ya Paa on Saturday, July 18th at 10:30 a.m. to come for a cup of tea and to pick up your artworks left in storage for many years. In this our 50th year of existence, we no longer have space available. As we work toward our celebration at the end of the year, we will also share with you our calendar of activities as we look forward to the future. If your name is not listed, but you know some of the artists, please inform them just in case they have not seen this notice.
THANK YOU.
FRIENDS OF PAA YA PAA
ARTISTS: Adam Massava, Anne Mwiti, Allen Green, Allan Kangetwe, Boyd Oyier, Bevern Otieno, Caroline Mbirua.David Mundia, Dedan Kimani, Daniel Wanjau, Dan Marigi, Esther Mukuhi,Elegwa Wycliffe Swift, Ezra Joab, Evanson Kangethe, Eliud Ngugi, Evans Maina, Elias, Elian Mung’ora, Evans Mwangi, Eric Manya, Florence Ochieng, Frederick Kamau, Fred Shinzu, Henry Odero, Hussein, S.K., Hannah Turuga, Immaculate Juma, Isaac Kamau, Jimmy Matu, John Gitonga, Kibacia Gatu, Kayiira Owentebbe, Ken Artifat, Kamondia, Kayako, Lionel Njuguna, Lazarus Tumbuti, Lawy, Mike Kyalo, Moses Kabiru, Mukwana, Laura Vanessa, Morphat, Makonde, Nuru Bahati, Ngaruiya, Nduta Kariuki, Onyis Martin, Orade, Paul Owino, Paul Kihiko, Peter Murio, Patrick Kariuki, Robinson Omweri, Richard Mudibo, Sinoh, Smoki, Tony, Tabitha wa Thuku, Timothy Bonanza, Uhuru Brown, Victor Nandwa, Watindi, Hezron; Wangatho, B., Yassir Ali .
PAA YA PAA Arts Centre
0733 270 109

Artists have until October 14 to submit their pieces for this year’s Affordable Art Show which is set to be held at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) between October 23 and 25. This is an event of the Kenya Museum Society (KMS) aimed at raising funds in support of NMK.

Bertiers

The art show is open to paintings, sculpture and mixed media work. Submissions will be juried. An individual artist can submit a maximum of two pieces, which should not be priced at more than Sh99,000. “Each piece should measure 100cm x 100cm (paintings and sculptures) for easy carrying of the art pieces by buyers,” says the communication signed by Lydia Galavu, the art curator at the museum and Patricia Ithau, who chairs the KMS Affordable Art Show.

The artworks to be submitted must have been created in 2015. Artists can also submit a third, A3 piece priced at Sh10,000.  The opening of the art show will take place in the courtyard behind the Louis Leakey Auditorium on Friday evening, October 23, 2015. The show will continue on Saturday and Sunday until October 25.

Artists’ work should be delivered to the former NMK boardroom at the rear of the courtyard on Wednesday, October 14, between 10am and 3pm. Artists from outside Nairobi who send work by public means,  must ensure that their submissions arrive no later than October 12.

Unsold art must be picked up on October 26, between 10am and 3pm. After that date and time, the art will belong to KMS and will be used to raise further funds for NMK.

Barely a month after Culture minister disowned the ‘Kenyan Pavilion’ at the Venice Biennale, it is now emerging that a letter had been written by the ministry requesting participation at the Biennale. This is in spite of repeated denials from the ministry, including CS Hassan Wario, of the same.

Already a letter allegedly written by Wenslas SA Ong’ayo, on behalf of the Principal Secretary, expressing the intention of the Republic of Kenya to participate in the event, is doing rounds in social media circles. The letter, apparently written way back in November 10, 2014, and addressed to Dr Paolo Baratta, the chairman of the Foundazione La Beinnale di Venezia, said that “Maretti Editore srl” “will sponsor the event and that Mrs Paola Poponi has been appointed Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya pavilion,” says the letter.  Onga’ayo is the director of administration at the ministry.

Ong'ayo

Matters came to a head when it was discovered that, for the second consecutive time, Kenya was being represented by Chinese artists at the prestigious event – the same happened in 2013 – popularly known as the Art Olympics. Local artists and their representatives protested and formed a delegation to seek clarification from Wario.

On April 14, the SC, accompanied by, among others, Ong’ayo, addressed a press conference at the Kenya Cultural Centre, and strenuously denied knowledge of the ministry’s connection to the people manning the Kenyan pavilion.

“Our investigations on this issue show that this happened at least twice before, in 2003 and 2013, through the involvement of Armando Tanzini, who resides in Malindi,” read part of Wario’s statement. “Tanzini and his team have presented themselves, wrongfully and repeatedly, as Kenya’s official representatives.”

During the press conference, a resolution was made to the effect that Kenya’s name and flag would be dropped from the pavilion. A letter to that effect was dispatched to Venice. That action by Wario must have caught Tanzini unawares, for he is the one that released Onga’yo’s letter, to prove that he indeed had the ministry’s backing.

Silvia Gichia, the director Kuona Trust, who was at the forefront in agitating against the Kenyan pavilion, told The Nairobian, that Tanzini called her from Italy, where he is manning the pavilion. “He was very furious and was protesting what he called betrayal by the ministry,” explains Sylvia. “He was saying that the ministry was tarnishing his name, yet they were the ones who issued him with the letter, and that is how he emailed me that letter.”

She says that Tanzini acted surprised when asked why he did not include Kenyan artists in the pavilion. “Which artists?”  he retorted.

Sylvia adds that following the Tanzini’s revelations, she got in touch with Wario, who expressed disbelief at the direction the saga had taken. “He promised that action would be taken at the ministry level,” adds Sylvia.

On her part, Sylvia, who is a member of a committee – consisting of government officials and individual artists – formed to address the Biennale saga, expressed her disgust with the government. “We are disappointed with the government; Wario should be on top of his game. We hold the government responsible for this whole fiasco,” she says adding that there is a need to re-evaluate that committee seeing as their trust with the government has taken a hit.

We wrote a email to Tanzini seeking his side of the story by had not received a response by the of going to press. Calls and a text message to Ong’ayo also went unanswered. Wario’s personal assistant, who promised to get back to us once he came out of hospital.

SolThe first time I listened to Sauti Sol’s latest single, ‘Nerea’, in a matatu, I thought the lyrics were jarring. The conservative voice in me felt that a ‘taboo’ subject was being handled inappropriately. Yes, abortion is such a sensitive subject in our society. Despite the fact that the procurement of abortion is, today, as widespread as the common cold, it is still talked about in whispers. Any woman suspected of having procured an abortion, becomes an outcast in society.

Amos and Josh

However, as the song progressed, my nerves were somehow calmed by the harmonious vocals of the group, which has teamed up with the duo of Amos and Josh, for this project. Despite their controversial nature, the lyrics are quite a revelation. The song is dedicated to Nerea, who could be any girl out there, and who is heavy with the singer’s child. It could be that, for one reason or the other, Nerea wants to terminate the pregnancy. The artist is therefore beseeching Nerea to give the unborn baby a chance in life.

They even introduce a spiritual side to it by invoking God’s name implying that it is Him who provides for every life that is brought into this world. This appears to be a direct challenge to women who justify aborting arguing that they have nothing to feed the child once it is born. The man in the song even offers to bring up the child.

The song is deceptively simple, with only two stanzas; the first one, which is also the chorus, carries the whole message of the song, while the second one enumerates what the future holds for an unborn child. It could be a future president, an actress like Lupita or an environmentalist like Wangari Maathai. However, the potency of the songs lies in its simplicity. Those lines are repeated over and over, throughout the song, to cement the message and to prick at the conscience of any woman contemplating abortion; what if the baby I plan to ‘flush’ becomes the future Obama and lifts me out of the valley of poverty?

Well, in terms of packaging a message, Sauti Sol and Amos and Josh score a strong ‘A’.  It will be recalled when finer details of the present constitution were being thrashed out, the topic of abortion was perhaps the one that elicited the most heated debate with the point of departure being when life begins; during conception or at birth.

During this whole time, it was the lawyer types, civil society activists, religious persons and politicians, who were engaging each other with the finer details of when life starts; while the masses, where the real, erm, abortion takes place, watched on bemusedly, wondering why there was such a fuss.

Now enter Sauti Sol and ‘Nerea’ and the abortion narrative has now been squarely placed where it belongs; among the masses, and especially among the youth – who are most likely to be experimenting with illicit sex, the result being unwanted pregnancies and eventual abortion. The topic of abortion might appear quite abstract, even fancy, when being discussed by the opposing pro-life and pro-choice lobbies. Using art, and good art at that, Sauti Sol/Amos and Josh have brought the message uncomfortably home, and it is causing what the Swahilis call ‘tumbo joto.’

More than ever before, Nerea has quite deftly brought men into the picture. Previously, men were seen as passive participants in the whole abortion matrix; isn’t abortion about women and their bodies? The only time men are roped in, is when they fork out the ‘blood money’ used to procure the abortion, and like Pontius Pilate wash their hands off the whole thing. Otherwise men pretend to be horrified by abortion, despite them being active and sweaty participants in creating the foetus now being aborted.

When they appeared on ‘The Trend Show’ of Friday, April 24, Larry Madowo, the show’s host pointedly asked Sauti Sol, what business they had policing women’s bodies. Bien, sidestepped the question rather brilliantly by referring to the ‘nakuomba’ word they used in the lyrics, indicating that they were merely pleading with Nerea not to abort. The inference here was that the girl was at liberty to do as she wished.

The answer can be classified as false humility; misleading at best. A critical look at their lyrics indicates that they use the words ‘mimba yangu’ – loosely translated to ‘my pregnancy’. The tacit ‘ownership’ of the ‘mimba’, gives men more power while negotiating abortion choices, while also making them more responsible for the welfare of the offspring. The pro-choice lobby, which argues that the body is theirs and can as well do as they wish with it, might not like this sneaky empowerment of men.

As things stand, ‘Nerea’ has thrown a spanner in the works, a cat among pigeons as it were.

A discussion about Nerea is not complete without looking at the technical aspects of the song. The music arrangement of Nerea is what the late Billy Omala of the ‘Chaguo Lako’ fame on KBC radio, would have described as ‘vyombo vimepangwa vikapangika’. The arrangement is just right.

Polycarp opens with his easy lead guitar, the signature tune of Sauti Sol, as the listeners are familiarised with the song’s lyrics. With the two stanzas firmly in place, it is time to move to the next gear and at one minute and 13 seconds, the double bass is slowly eased into the background. This gives cue for Josh to hit the high notes with ‘nitamlea’. The vocal effect continues with Chimano’s deep bass – despite his slight stature – followed by the chorus, which is at climax. At two minutes, the other instruments including the violins take over and the vocals take a back-seat, for an interval of 15 seconds. Here, the beauty of the song shines through. Afterwards the song is on homestretch; time to relax things and bring the song to a close.

Despite their current popularity, Sauti Sol occupies that complicated space between urban mass appeal and high Afro fusion with its complicated audience, but have managed to appeal to both audiences. It is rare, in Kenya today, to find the mass market embracing musical groups that perform with the backing of a full band. They prefer simple, computer generated beats, creating what is eventually known as bubblegum pop.

Things however changed when, in their debut ‘Mwanzo’ album, the did the song ‘Lazizi’, that captured the essence of your urban culture and aspirations’ with a young man seeking to date a girl in Nairobi and taking her to Java, where not many can ordinarily afford to patronise. ‘Lazizi’ earned them a legion of urban youth, and who refused to let go. This effectively marked a turning point with Sauti Sol, who in order to serve their newly acquired fans, found themselves steadily pulling away from the donor/expatriate spaces they had been courting at the beginning. This has been exemplified by the song Gentleman, a collabo they did with urban pop group P Unit.

They have however maintained their sophisticated musical roots, not once abandoning the full band; ‘Sura Yako’ and ‘Nerea’ attests to this. It can be argued that Sauti Sol introduced Nairobi youth to the finer details of music.

Sauti Sol’s crowning moment came when they shared the stage with internationally acclaimed South African Acapella group, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, to perform ‘Diamonds on the Soles of her Feet’, a collabo with Paul Simon. Bien did Paul Simon’s lyrics, much to the applause of the audience and respect from the Joseph Shabalala’s outfit. Finally, Sauti Sol had arrived at the international stage.

 

 

It is said that lightning does not strike twice but sadly for Kenyan art, it just did. For the second consecutive season the Kenyan pavilion at the Venice Biennale is being represented Chinese artists. The same thing happened in 2013, a lot of noise was made, the government, through the culture ministry, promised action, but it appears nothing was done.

It is now emerging that the man running the show at the Kenyan pavilion is Armando Tanzini, a hotelier, of Italian origin, who has reportedly lived at the Kenyan coast for 45 years. He also played a big role in the 2013 saga. Questions are now being raised about how a private individual who has no ties with the Kenyan government or the Culture ministry, has the authority to run a pavilion on behalf of Kenya.

 

Biennale SoiMichael Soi, a visual artist based at The Godown, reads mischief in the whole issue. “For a country to participate at the Biennale, the relevant government arm, in our case the Culture ministry writes to the Mayor of Venice, where the exhibition is taking place, requesting for space,” he explains. “It is after the request has been vetted and accepted that the country is required to show commitment by putting in some money. This is followed by giving out the names of artists who will exhibit at the event.”

Soi and other artists are concerned that someone from the ministry must have written the letter giving the blessings of the ministry for the pavilion to exist. “The word we are getting from the ministry is that they have no idea who did the letter. This is too embarrassing for us as Kenyan artists and the country as a whole,” he explains.

On Friday, March 20, a group of artists, who, among others, included, Soi, author Binyavanga Wainaina, Justus Kyalo, Maggie Otieno, Jimmy Ogonga and James Muriuki, apparently at the invitation of CS Hassan Wario, went to his offices to try and ‘sort out the issue’. “When we got there we were told the CS, being a Muslim, had gone for Friday prayers. We stayed there up to 5 pm but he did not show up,” says Soi.

While there, a ministry official showed them a letter that promised to halt the operations of the Kenyan pavilion and promising to make better preparations for the 2017 edition of the event. However, the letter was not signed. “We could not take it seriously. We were promised that it would be signed and issued on Monday, March 23, which did not materialise,” says Soi.

Wangechi Mutu

The Kenyan pavilion at the Biennale, and whose theme is Creating Identities, has the following listed as the Kenyan representatives. Yvonne Apiyo Braendle-Amolo, Qin Feng, Shi Jinsong, Armando Tanzini, Li Zhanyang, Lan Zheng Hui, Li Gang, Double Fly Art Center. From the name alone Yvonne Apiyo Braendle-Amolo is the only Kenyan in the group of artists.

The curator of the Kenyan pavilion is listed as Sandro Orlandi Stagl. A simple google check on him reveals that anything about him is written in Italian. The only English posts have to do with the present controversy. None of the people, in the local art industry seem to know who Yvonne Apiyo Braendle-Amolo, let alone her credentials as an artist.

Apparently, US-based Kenyan visual artist, Wangechi Mutu, is among the big name artists whose art will be gracing the Venice Biennale. Our enquiries revealed that Wangechi would be exhibiting at the Central Pavilion – unlike the country pavilions – which will be curated by the Biennale itself.

Wangechi, through a comment on Facebook, had this to say about the saga: “…The reason why this hotelier (Tanzini) has gotten away with this for so long is that those who care didn’t seem to know it was happening, and those who were aware that it was happening don’t actually care how Kenya is represented abroad or at home!”

Binyavanga made the following post of Facebook. “…Let me be clear that none of this could have happened without clear collusion: Somebody in our government, every two years has signed off on this. It is possible that Kenya Embassy in Rome knows or is involved with this. In 2013, we were promised this would be dealt with. It has not.”

Meanwhile, Kenyans are signing an online petition, on change.org, addressed to the ministry urging it to do something about the saga.

 

Maisha Yetu caught up with Ndinda and had a chat on what it means to win the coveted schorlaship. Read on

Ndinda

Maisha Yetu: Explain to our readers what the Morland Award is all about?

Ndinda Kioko: It is a writing scholarship that is awarded annually by the Miles Morland Foundation to three writers from Africa. Each of the winners receives a grant to allow them to take a year off and write a book.

MY: How does it feel to be a recipient of the Morland Award?

NK: When I first received the news, I was shocked, followed by a deep sense of gratitude. Now that the excitement is finally settling in, I am a little terrified by the responsibility that I have to myself; the responsibility of writing that novel that I have wanted to write for so long. There is something deeply satisfying and equally frightening about finding yourself on the path towards your dream.

MY: What does the award mean to you?

NK: The scholarship came at a time when I was thinking of pausing everything to focus fully on writing. But then there is also that uneasiness that comes with leaving the comfort of a paying job to immerse yourself into the eternal darkness of writing. The reality is that, it is hard to make a living as a writer, and in between a 9 to 5 job, one can barely find enough time to make significant progress. This is not to say that it is not doable. There are those who have managed to maintain an equilibrium between the two. This scholarship means that I can now finally pull down the shutters and concentrate on my writing for a sustained period of time without the previous distractions and limitations. I am also hopeful that this opportunity opens a door for other literary endeavors.

MY: This seems to have been quite an eventful year for you. You were also recognized as one of the Africa39 authors. Tells us more about this.

NK: This also came as a surprise. It is not a small thing to be recognized as one of the 39 promising writers under the age of 40 in Africa south of the Sahara, especially when all you have to show for it is a bunch of short stories. Even more humbling, to be recognized alongside people you have read and admired for years. But beyond the honor, the excitement and the shock comes a reminder that I need to take writing seriously; that I need to stop looking at writing as something that merely punctuates my life. This is what I am here to do, and I need to do it constantly for as long as I am here.

MY: What motivated you to become a writer?
NK: I can’t really isolate that exact thing or person or moment that got me started. Growing up, I did not have the luxury of a television, so all my childhood was immersed in books. I have indistinct memories of reading John Steinbeck and not understanding a word. But what populated my childhood was a lot of Nancy Drew, John Kiriamiti, newspaper cuttings, to mention but a few. I can say that reading got me interested in writing, but I know I am a result of many things.

MY: Who are your role models; local and international?
NK: There are a lot of writers whose work I admire, who have influenced me greatly. I can’t possibly fit them here. The world is a hovel of atrocities, and there are writers like Toni Morrison who take away my restlessness. And I think this is the most powerful thing about being a writer- that through your writing, other people are able to survive the world. If I can do that for just one person, then my work here will be done.

I wish Mariama Bâ had stayed around longer. I am constantly craving for her writing, and I feel like I have reread her enough already.

My stylistic admiration at the moment belongs to Ali Smith, who was shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize. She writes from a space of formlessness, which is something I am very much drawn to. She plays by the rules yes, but at the same time, she stretches these rules to see what reinventions are beyond the rules.

I have utmost respect and admiration for Yvonne Owuor, Jeniffer Makumbi, Okwiri Oduor, Teju Cole, Ousmane Sembène, NoViolet Bulawayo, JM Coetzee, Junot Diaz; it’s a long list.

MY:  What proposal did you submit and when should Kenyans expect to read you?
NK: I think it is too early to tell, and too early to talk about the project. All I can say is that I am charting a journey of remembering by exploring the relationship between a dead mother and a daughter. When should Kenyans expect to read it? Even I do not know. I am in no hurry. I want to take my time with it.

MY: What is your strongest point/ what is your style of writing? Prose/poetry?
NK: I write prose. I am still trying to understand myself as a writer, so I can’t quite speak of ‘a style’ that I can be identified with. I will let that be a burden of those who read me. But I am drawn to writing that is not so pedantic; writing that invents and reinvents and leaves you feeling like the writer has broken the law.

MY: Mile Morland says that he was blown away by the quality of this year’s entries. What about your submission blew him away?
NK: To be honest, I’ve also been wondering about that.

MY: Recently, we’ve seen Okwiri Oduor win the Caine Prize and now here you are; can we say that this is the time of the Kenyan woman writer?
NK: I don’t want to give that phrasing a nod. A lot of writing by Kenyan women precedes us. Writers like Yvonne Owuor, Grace Ogot, Margaret Ogola, Moraa Gitaa, Phyllis Muthoni, Njeri Wangari, and Marjorie Oludhe. However, I do recognize a dead gap between, say Yvonne Owuor and Margaret Ogola. And it is not because no one was writing, but because no one was paying enough attention. I am glad we are here now, and that more Kenyan women are getting published and that we are paying attention to their stories.

MY:  What have you been doing prior to winning the prize?
NK: I have been writing and producing two TV shows for Mnet. The first project, titled How to Find a Husband is a sitcom that follows the life of three women living and surviving Nairobi as they try to find, lose, escape and keep love. We just finished filming the second project, a 26-episode political drama which we are currently editing. The shows are set to premiere early 2015.

MY:  What are your views on Kenyan writing in general?
NK: I am excited to see the writers of our generation taking matters into their hands and creating spaces for themselves. Spaces like Jalada are a product of that. There is a lot of wonderful writing that stands a danger of disappearing into oblivion, and these spaces that are being created by writers’ collectives are there to minimize that danger. Traditional publishers can’t do it all on their own. I am also glad to see poets like Michael Onsando and Abigail Arunga taking the bold self-publishing step. It is an exciting time to be a writer in Kenya.

MY:  Your message to younger writers who will now look upon you for inspiration, and especially those who might not have the opportunity to submit for either Caine or Morland
NK: Buy a notebook, and use it.

That Kenya is teeming with artistic talent came out in the open on the night of Friday October 24 when the Affordable Art Show opened at the National Museums of Kenya. About 300 artists had their works on display at the three-day event organised by the Kenya Museum Society.

New entrants in the visual art world had their works displayed alongside those of established artists, all competing for the attention of buyers keen to acquire reasonably priced art. None of the pieces on display cost more than sh100,000; there were smaller pieces going for between sh6,000 and sh10,000.

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Lydia Galavu curator of the Creativity Gallery at the National Museums explained that artistes were required to submit two big pieces and two small ones. The Safaricom and Java sponsored event attracted a full house, with a carnival-like atmosphere. The turn-up was clear testimony that local art has quite some following.

The pieces on display covered a wide spectrum of themes, from the mundane to sophisticated stuff like geopolitics. There are also those who tackled topical issues. David Karibu Karanja had reproduced the iconic picture of Abdul Hajji rescuing a terrified girl at the Westgate Mall armed with only a pistol. Karanja’s piece was selling for sh25,000.

Keen users of Kenya’s social media will by now have come across a picture of a rugged old man, bent almost double by age. This image is routinely tossed into the comments section of pages with wide following, for nuisance value. Here it went by the title Do you have a phone charger please? I wonder if this one got a buyer.

Adrian Nduma

Adrian Nduma

Then there were pieces that were in huge demand. Adrian Nduma’s semi abstract pieces Contempt and Strong were bought even before the event came to a close. Each were going for sh55,000. I am sure if he had more pieces they all would have gone. Next to Nduma’s pieces was Martin Muhoro’s The Wild Vision, which an observant collector remarked looked like it had been done by veteran Yoni Waite, to which Wangechi, the curator at The Nairobi Gallery agreed.

Speaking of impressionable artists Leonard Ngure’s Dagoretti Market and Kinyua Kimani’s Heroes would easily be confused with something that Joseph Bertiers did. Seeing my dilemma, Lydia said they both are students of Bertiers. Clearly, here is an artist keen to mentor the next generation of artists. Bertiers himself had two pieces, namely Cat Painting and Caught in the Act.

Joseph Bertiers Caught in the Act

Joseph Bertiers Caught in the Act

Caught in the Act depicted the clergyman who, a month ago was in the news having been caught with another man’s wife in a lodging. Trust Bertiers, whose work is full of sexual imagery, to pounce on such a topic. In the painting, the nearly naked woman sits on a bed with a cat between her legs – hint! Hint! while the ‘pastor’ had an unpeeled banana and a rungu somewhere between his legs. Does the unpeeled banana represent the fact that the union had not yet been ‘consummated’ by the time the two were caught?

There was another master/teacher team; that one of Eric Wamagata and his teacher Lexander Mbugua. Both had done miniature impressions of Lamu/Zanzibar doors. Interestingly, by the end of the event it is the pupil’s more elaborate ‘door’ that had attracted the attention of a buyer.

Michael Soi, persisted with his theme of sex tourism, an issue tourism authorities are keen to keep under wraps. Weighing my Options featured a Kenyan woman torn between two white men, while I love Diani had a randy white old man tagging at the strings of a bikini-clad African woman.

Culture CS Hassan Wario, who was the chief guest at the event revealed that his ministry has prepared a cabinet memorandum that would see the establishment of a National Art Gallery to give ‘Kenyan art a permanent home’. Also in the pipeline, said the CS, was a ‘vibrant Art Department’.

The Kenya Museum Society (KMS) is a volunteer organization founded in 1970 by a group who included Richard Leakey and Hilary N’gweno, to support the Nairobi Museum. The Affordable Art Show was an event of the Society
from the mid-1990’s when it was held in conjunction with the annual visual and performing Art
Festival.  After a 7-year hiatus the Show was revived last year in response to artists’
requests and popular demand.  The 2013 show raised more than 500,000 shillings which the Society donated for storage structures and the restoration of certain pieces of the Permanent Art Collection.