Sane Wadu (Kenyan, born 1954)
Meditation, 2023
Signed ‘Sane Wadu 23’ (lower right)
Oil on canvas
65.5 x 50.2 cm
US$ 2,500 – 4,000
Provenance: direct from the artist
Sold US$ 2,935

Having previously worked as a teacher, a court clerk, a writer, a playwright and a theatre actor, Sane Wadu began painting professionally in the 1980s and went on to become one of Gallery Watatu’s most iconic artists. Over a long and distinguished career he has gained acclaim for his expressionistic, energetic paintings, which use thickly applied oil paint to create critically reflective narratives and scenes.

In the 1990s, Wadu co-founded the Ngecha Artists’ Association with his contemporaries Eunice Wadu, Wanyu Brush and Chain Muhandi. Working alongside his wife and fellow artist Eunice Wadu, he continues to support young artists through The Sane Wadu Trust where they hold weekly art workshops from their studio in Naivasha.

Wadu’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including in the USA, Germany, South Africa, Japan and the UK, notably in the seminal exhibition, Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1995 and its accompanying book. Other publications include Angaza Africa by the African curator at the British Museum, Chris Spring, 2008 and Contemporary African Art by Sidney Kasfir, 2000. In 2021 Wadu exhibited in the travelling group show Mwili Akili na Roho, at The Royal Academy, London and Haus Der Kunst, Munich and had a solo retrospective at Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute in 2022.

This unusual painting, in the artist’s trademark thick impasto, may be a self-portrait as Wadu professes to be interested in meditation.