Joseph Bertiers (Kenyan, born 1963)
The Careful Joker, 2015
54.5 x 80 x 33 (approx.)
Ksh 270,000 – 390,000
(US$) 2,650 – 3,800
Provenance: direct from the artist
Based on a memory from Joseph Bertier’s childhood, this metal sculpture depicts the collective jokes and joy surrounding a 1964 Bedford truck:
“On seeing it dumped outside its owner’s place, people laughed in disbelief that the old truck could run. School children were taken to it so they could see the first lorries, like their grandparents would have driven. It was there like a museum. People would visit as a backdrop for their weddings and picnics. Jovial people would hang around it. The people who are seated in the back are not going anywhere, they are just posing for photographs. It was iconic and it made people happy.”
Bertiers made The Careful Joker, 2015 with a desire to resuscitate this dead story, and to bring the feelings of admiration and enjoyment people had for the original truck back to life, embodied in the sculpture.
Beginning his career as a sign writer, Bertier’s celebrated satirical paintings and found-metal sculptures often focus on socio-political paradoxes that exist in Kenyan society. Bertiers’ has exhibited throughout Europe and the USA. In 2011 he had a solo exhibition at Fred’s Gallery in London, who he also exhibited with at Basel Art Fair and the Johannesburg Art Fair in 2012. His paintings feature regularly at the annual Africa Now auction at Bonhams, London and he is represented in many important local and international private and corporate collections including the Jean Pigozzi collection of African art.