Edward Njenga (Kenyan, born 1922)
Asian Stone Mason, undated
Signed ‘E. S. NJENGA’ (plaque on base)
25 x 23.1 x 13 cm
Sold Ksh 446,120
Provenance: direct from the artist
One of Kenya’s most revered sculptors, and at the age of ninety-six, Edward Njenga’s collection of sculptures dating back to the 1960s are a prized component of Kenya’s cultural heritage.
Although trained in the art of clay work by his potter-mother from a young age, Njenga didn’t begin making his own sculptures until the 1960s. Many of his unique works recall scenes from his time held in detention camps, fixed in his memory as he was not allowed to write or sketch. Others, such as Asian Stone Mason serve as visual memoirs of everyday life in Nairobi.
From 1962 Njenga’s works have been exhibited to great acclaim in Nairobi: his first exhibition at the New Stanley Hotel sold out, and in 1970 an exhibition of Njenga’s sculptures was opened by Charles Njonjo at Gallery Africa. Njenga received a scholarship to study Art at the University of Hanover in Germany from 1971–73. On his return to Nairobi, his exhibition at the National Museums of Kenya was aired on German television.
In 2014 there was a major retrospective exhibition of over 200 of the artist’s sculptures at the Nairobi National Museum. His work is in many important art collections.