Peterson Kamwathi (Kenyan, born 1980)
Untitled (Sheep on Submarines), 2007
Signed ‘signature 07’ (lower right)
Charcoal and pastel on paper
109.5 x 110 cm
Sold Ksh 939,200
Provenance: the Daraja Collection
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.
Untitled (Sheep on Submarines) is from a small series of large-scale charcoal drawings made from 2006-2008. This was a period marked by reports of conflict, particularly from Darfur. At one level, the works are a response of the artist to this context; constituting a kind of monument to those who have borne the traumatic brunt of war. As part of Kamwathi’s wider exploration of the associations and symbolism that societies from time immemorial have attached to domesticated animals, these drawings consider the form of the sheep, and the texts of innocence and victimhood with which it has been imprinted. The principal image of the sheep, lovingly rendered in velvety blacks, is contextualised by its shadow, constituted of the hardware of war.
Kamwathi’s work has been exhibited worldwide, most recently: When the Heavens Meet the Earth, The Heong Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge, 2017 and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2017 where he represented Kenya. He has participated in many international workshops and residencies including printmaking at the London Print Studio, 2006, 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.