Peterson Kamwathi (Kenyan, born 1980)
It is Not Clear from Constitution Bull series, 2005
Signed ‘signature 05’ (lower right)
2/2 Edition, woodcut print on paper
61 x 76.5 cm
Sold Ksh 845,280
Provenance: the Daraja Collection
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.
The woodcut series Constitution BulI, made from 2005 to 2008, explores the recurring motifs and phrases which came to be associated with the complex process of establishing a new post-colonial constitution in Kenya. Kamwathi considered how the entrenched interests of people on all sides of the debate were distilled into symbols; neutral imagery onto which was attached great meaning. Each bull – with their implicit associations of patriarchal systems, machismo, wealth and status – presents a different conception of a nation structure. The title of this piece It is Not Clear, references a phrase which was repeated in news coverage of Kenya’s 2005 referendum.
Kamwathi’s work has been exhibited worldwide, most recently: When the Heavens Meet the Earth, The Heong Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge, 2017 and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2017 where he represented Kenya. He has participated in many international workshops and residencies including printmaking at the London Print Studio, 2006, Art Omi International artist residency, New York, 2009, as a Civitella Ranieri fellow, 2012, and at the Zeitz Mocaa (Museum of Contemporary African Art), Segera, Kenya, 2015. In 2013 he exhibited in the joint exhibition Six Degrees of Separate Nations, Frost Art Museum, Miami.