Sukuro Etale (Kenyan, born 1954)
Kilifi Fisherman, 1987
Signed ‘Sukuro’ (lower left)
Oil on canvas
91.2 x 139 cm
US$ 5,000 – 8,000
Provenance: private collection
Sold US$ 5,870

Before embarking on a career as a full-time freelance artist working across several mediums, Sukuro Etale was employed as a high school teacher, editor/proof-reader and illustrator for the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and various publishing houses. His work is chiefly concerned with the rapid acculturation of Kenyan people, culture and traditions.

Etale was instrumental in fighting for a National Art Gallery in Kenya and also founded Sisi Kwa Sisi, a movement of artists exhibiting their work in public spaces. Upon realising that the majority of those who attended the Sisi Kwa Sisi open air exhibitions could not afford original works, Etale opened a studio which offered affordable prints and copies and from which he also trained several now-prominent artists from Gallery Watatu on printing techniques. Encouraged by the success of these ventures, in the mid 1980s Etale founded Sanaa Art Promotions for social marketing using both visual and performing arts—employing over 300 artists who produced thousands of murals in public spaces and learning institutions across Kenya and Sudan.

Etale has been commissioned by the Kenyan Government to represent traditional Kenyan architecture on canvas. Other commissions include the Catholic Church, Kenya Commercial Bank, Kenya Reinsurance and Severin Lodges. His works are on display at the National Archives, Department of Culture, State House, Nairobi, the UN Headquarters in New York and the Volkerkunde Museum in Frankfurt.