Ancent Soi (Kenyan, born 1937)
Untitled, 1982

signed ‘Soi’ (lower right)
acrylic on canvas
100 x 100cm
Ksh 120,000–150,000
US$ 1,360–1,700
Sold Ksh 164,360

Provenance: Private Collection through One Off Gallery.

Ancent Soi was born in Machakos, Kenya into a farming family. He came to Nairobi in 1965 and worked at the city market selling woodcarvings and paintings and soon began painting himself. He became a full-time artist and gained widespread popularity within the city.

In 1971, he achieved wider fame, winning a prestigious, continent-wide competition to design the Olympic poster for the Munich Olympics. He has since exhibited in the U.S., Japan, Germany and most recently in the UK alongside Camille Wekesa at the Deborah Gage Gallery, London in 2012 and at Nairobi Gallery, National Museums of Kenya in 2013. He remains one of Kenya’s most celebrated artists.

Soi paints simple scenes of village life in a region that is fast changing. His messages are direct and uncluttered: “I paint to please myself. If other people like them, I am flattered but it is not very important.”