Lot 36 Kamau ‘Cartoon’ Joseph (Kenyan, born 1973) Untitled, circa 2009, at the Art Auction East Africa 2019

Kamau ‘Cartoon’ Joseph (Kenyan, born 1973)
Untitled, circa 2009
Signed ‘CARTOON’ (lower left)
Oil on canvas
185.7 x 140.4 cm

Ksh 300,000–400,000
(US$ 2,750–3,650)
Sold Ksh 352,200

Provenance: private collection

Kamau ‘Cartoon’ Joseph’s paintings function as puzzles with semi-abstract figures swirling and tumbling across brightly coloured and densely patterned picture planes. Central in his narrative compositions are women, usually playing traditionally female roles in the family and society.

In 1994 Cartoon joined the Banana Hill Art Group, an offshoot of the Ngecha Artists Association, where he was mentored by Shine Tani, who himself went on to become a renowned artist in Kenya. Cartoon’s style has remained consistent through the years, marked by what art historian Sidney Littlefield Kasfir, writing about the Ngecha and Banana artists, described as “an exuberance, which is extremely difficult for formally trained artists to achieve”.

Cartoon has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in East Africa, Europe and South Korea. In 2002, he participated in the Scholars Exhibition of the Royal Overseas League in London and was awarded a one-year Artist-in-Residency in the UK. He returned to Kenya in 2003 and has since then been living as a freelance artist in Banana Hill, Nairobi.