Samuel Wanjau (Kenyan, born 1938)
Weaver Bird, undated

blue stone
54 x 23cm
Ksh 250,000–300,000
US$ 2,840–3,410
Sold Ksh 410,900

Provenance: Private Collection

Wanjau is undoubtedly one of Kenya’s most revered and influential sculptors. Born in Nyeri on the family farm, he left school to join a carvers’ cooperative in Mombasa and later in Nairobi and when independence came he started producing curios for the tourist market. On meeting Elimo Njau of Paa Ya Paa (Arts Centre) he began to explore new styles and techniques and discovered a highly personal style that conveyed powerful emotion in the everyday figures and animals he carved. Wanjau exhibited widely in East Africa and internationally including Sweden, Britain, Canada, the U.S. and Italy. His influence on the second generation of sculptors which include both his sons, Jackson and Anthony, has been profound. His work and career is emblematic of a time when artists were breaking away from the mass production of co-operatives and finding distinctive individual voices.