Eunice Wadu (Kenyan, born 1965)
Mau Mau Heroes, 2011
Signed ‘Weunice’ (lower right)
Acrylic on canvas
92.5 x 121 cm
Ksh 275,000 – 400,000
(US$) 2,400 – 3,500
Provenance: from the artists collection
One of the pioneering women artists in Kenya, Eunice Wadu began her career as a painter in the late 1980s. She was initially shy about sharing her work, keeping it hidden from even the eyes of her partner Sane Wadu, himself an artist. It was only after their marriage that Wadu shared her works, much to his delight and encouragement. A painter and printmaker, Wadu’s eye-catching, layered abstractions, challenge viewers to discover hidden forms and messages within the work, while her prints capture quotidian scenes and moments. This painting was inspired by her Mother, who was a young girl when the war for independance in Kenya erupted. The Mau Mau freedom fighters were tortured but were determined to win their freedom. This lesson of perseverance and never losing hope is an important belief for Wadu.
She had her first solo exhibition, Heart Burden in 1993, at the Goethe Institut in Nairobi, and has gone on to participate in exhibitions locally and internationally. Her work was, notably, included in Out of Bounds: Women Artists from Africa at the University of New England Art Gallery in 2004, and Not an Ocean Between Us: Voices of Women from Africa and the African Diaspora at Diggs Gallery, Winston-Salem State University, 2006-2007. Wadu was also one of the artists featured in the 1995 Ngecha Artists’ Association Inaugural Exhibition at Gallery Watatu. Alongside her practice, Wadu pursues social activism and community work, with special attention to issues faced by women. She and her husband have established an art therapy centre in Naivasha, and hold weekly art workshops for children.