Edward Njenga (Kenyan, born 1922)
Jua Kali Shoe Repair, 1988
Signed ‘ESN 88’ (to side)
15 x 12.5 x 23cm
Sold Ksh 352,200
Provenance: direct from the artist
Born more than 90 years ago, much of Njenga’s work dates from the pioneering decades following independence; his sculptures, executed mostly in clay, display an instinctive social realism. His practice is grounded locally in his use of clay and popular subject matter. Many of Njenga’s works honour his mother who earned a living by selling her pottery that paid his school fees. Each of Njenga’s sculptures are unique and serve as a visual memoir of everyday living in Nairobi and Eastleigh, where he worked as a social worker for many years.
His intimate sculptures of local characters come alive as he describes their stories; these two sculptures depict instantly recognizable characters who have worked daily on Kenya’s streets; the cobbler patiently mending shoes and Naftali, the portrait of a man that Njenga knew and whose hard work and spirit he admired greatly as a young man.
Works from Njenga rarely come on the market.