Joel Oswaggo (Kenyan, born 1944)
Harvesting at New Homestead, 1998
A Grain Farmer with His Wives, 1998
Signed ‘J. Oswaggo’ (lower right on both)
Mixed media on paper
28 x 36 cm (each)
Ksh 180,000 – 280,000 (sold as a pair)
(US$) 1,900 – 2,900
Provenance: Direct from the artist
Sold Ksh 176,100
Oswaggo began drawing as a boy, intrigued by the illustrations he saw in schoolbooks and replicating them on the walls of his home. He grew up in a time of significant transition for the Luo people, with Western culture gaining increasing influence.
Oswaggo worked for a period as a sign-writer in Uganda where he developed his skills under the tutelage of Italian colleagues before returning home. He struggled to make a living until he was supported and promoted by Gallery Watatu owner, Ruth Schaffner who recognized the skill of his illustrations and the importance of his work as a commentary on local traditions, particularly those of his ethnic group.
These small paintings document scenes of village life in the past and are a record of a vanishing way of life.