Circle Art Auction 2015 Lot 48 Elkana Ong’esa

Elkana Ong’esa (Kenyan, born 1944)
Memory of a Fallen Hero, 1985
Signed ‘EON 85’ (to back)
Soap stone
28 x 60 x 28 cm

Ksh 370,000-450,000
(US$ 3,365-4,090)
Bought in

Provenance: direct from the artist

Elkana Ong’esa was born into a family of craftsmen with a long heritage of stone carving. Ong’esa was the first to combine these traditional skills with training in fine arts acquired at Makerere University, the University of Nairobi and McGill University in Canada. He is now one of Kenya’s most recognized artists.

Memory of a Fallen Hero commemorates the sad story of Kenya’s gold medallist boxer, Roger Wangila, who died in the ring. His remains were fought over by many communities in Kenya and remained in the morgue during a lengthy legal case for his burial rights. He was the biological nephew of the artist and so this sculpture, made in 1985, was re-dedicated to Wangila’s memory.

Ong’esa has travelled widely; studying, lecturing and collaborating internationally as well as exhibiting in places such as Hong Kong, the USA, Burkino Faso, Egypt, Canada and Sweden. Commissioned major artworks include pieces for the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in 2010, the Murumbi Peace Memorial in 2008 and the Rosenberg Museum at Hofstra University in New York, USA in 2004.