Ancent Soi (Kenyan, 1939 – 2022)
Hat Maker, 1999
Signed ‘Soi. 1999.’ (lower left)
Oil on canvas
49.2 X 57.8 cm
US$ 3,000 – 6,000
Provenance: private collection
Bought in

Born in Machakos to a farming family, Ancent Soi became one of Kenya’s most celebrated artists. With stunning attention to detail, colour and texture, Soi’s joyful paintings of animals, plants and people record traditional ceremonies, childhood memories and narratives of rural life.

While working at a city market in Nairobi, selling woodcarvings and paintings, Soi began to paint. His works drew attention and he later became a full-time artist, gaining widespread popularity within the city.

In 1971, he won a prestigious, continent-wide competition to design the Olympic poster for the Munich Olympics. Soi exhibited regularly with Gallery Watatu in the 1980s and was one of a number of artists who came to exemplify Kenyan Art during that period, locally and abroad. Soi’s works have been exhibited in the USA, Japan, Germany and the UK as well as Kenya.