Peterson Kamwathi (Kenyan, born 1980)
Untitled Study, 2013
Unsigned with certificate of authenticity
Charcoal and soft pastel on paper
180 x 112 cm
KSH 1,000,000 – 2,000,000 ARR
(US$) 10,500 – 21,000
Provenance: Collection of Carol Lees and Dominic Martin

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 Study (2019) is a meditation on political protest. The figure on the right demands to be seen and heard, gesturing confidently to their surroundings; by contrast, the figure on the left appears diffident and furtive, wrapped inside his hood and hiding behind his own placard as if begging not to be seen. One could read this image not as two figures in protest but as the conflicted state of mind of a single protester – driven by conscience and traumatized by its consequences.

Kamwathi has exhibited widely both locally and internationally. Recent highlights include his participation in Borderlines – Thirty Contemporary Artists from the Indian Ocean in Port Louis, Mauritius; the Young Congo Biennial in Kinshasa, DRC, both in 2019; and Selections from the Private Collection of Ernst Hilger at Museum Angerlehner, Austria in 2018. Other significant exhibitions include When the Heavens Meet the Earth at the Heong Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge in 2017; and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice in 2017 where he represented Kenya. He has participated in many international workshops and residencies including the Fountainhead Residency in Miami in 2016; the Civitella Ranieri fellowship in 2012; the Art Omi international artist residency in 2009 and a printmaking residency at the London Print Studio in 2006. In 2013 he exhibited in the joint exhibition Six Degrees of Separate Nations, Frost Art Museum, Miami.

Kamwathi’s work is collected widely both locally internationally, including by the British Museum. This is a good opportunity to acquire a significant work from this important period in the artist’s career.