Annabelle Wanjiku (Kenyan, 1963 – 2020)
Untitled (Birds), undated
Signed ‘ANABELLE’ (lower left)
Mixed media on canvas
66.2 x 47.4 cm
Ksh 200,000 – 250,000 ARR
(US$) 1,950 – 2,450
Provenance: private collection
Sold Ksh 159,600
Annabelle Wanjiku was one of Ruth Schaffner’s most celebrated Gallery Watatu artists. She used to travel from Diani, at the coast, to show her work and be mentored by Schaffner who considered her one of the most interesting female artists of her generation in Kenya.
Wanjiku became a single mother at a young age and has explained that this period of hardship and rejection taught her about love and has influenced the subject of all her paintings: the importance of family life, co-existence and bringing people together. The depth of her feeling for humanity and nature can be seen in the joyful merging of plants, people, birds and animals.
Wanjiku’s impasto technique involved mixing and creating her own paints using clay and natural pigments alongside traditional artist paint. Her work has featured in group and solo exhibitions since the early 1980s in Kenya, Uganda, Germany, the USA and Japan. Wanjiku passed away last year in Uganda, where she had lived for the last 12 years, yet she remains one of Nairobi’s legends from the post-Independence era.