Peterson Kamwathi (Kenyan, born 1980)
Maximum Reforms from Constitutional Bull Series, 2008
Signed ‘signature 08’ (lower right)
2/2 Edition variable, woodcut print on paper
61 x 76 cm
Sold Ksh 763,100
Provenance: private collection of Robert Devereux
For the last few years, Peterson Kamwathi has been considered one of the region’s most inventive artists, responding to the complex political and social issues around him. His work combines clear conceptual elements and rich content with technical mastery.
The large-scale woodcut series Constitution Bull, made from 2005 to 2008, explores the recurring motifs and phrases which came to be associated with the complex process of establishing a new post-colonial constitution in Kenya. Kamwathi considered how the entrenched interests of people on all sides of the debate were distilled into symbols; neutral imagery onto which was attached great meaning. Each bull – with their implicit associations of patriarchal systems, machismo, wealth and status – presents a different conception of a nation’s structure.
Kamwathi’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including the UK, the USA, the Netherlands, Austria, El Salvador, Finland and Kenya. In 2016 his presentations included a solo exhibition at One Off Gallery, Nairobi, the joint exhibition Paper II, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi and 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair, New York. He has participated in many international workshops and residencies including printmaking at the London Print Studio, 2006, the Art Omi International artist residency, New York, 2009, as a Civitella Ranieri fellow, 2012, and at the Zeitz Mocaa (Museum of Contemporary African Art), Segera, Kenya, 2015. In 2013 he exhibited in the joint exhibition Six Degrees of Separate Nations, Frost Art Museum, Miami.