Richard Kimathi (Kenyan 1971)
Mongooses (Kibera), 2009

signed ‘Richard Kimathi’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
151 x 149cm
Ksh 300,000–350,000
US$ 3,400–4,000
Bought in

Provenance: Private Collection

Kimathi is at the forefront of Kenya’s “second generation” of post-independence artists, many of whom emerged from Kuona Trust in the mid 1990s. Kimathi employs an inventive and distinctive language with which he addresses contemporary issues. His paintings brim with relevance and subtle commentary. In this case the mongooses represent the huge populations in Nairobi trapped in informal, ‘slum’ housing; a fence separates them from the outside world and although they might be able to escape through the holes, wider issues of discrimination and power make it safer and easier to remain. Kimathi has had solo exhibitions in Kenya, the U.S. and Spain and his work is in several important private collections.

He was selected to represent Kenya at the 2006 Dak’Art Biennale and he has attended residencies in Pakistan and the U.S.