Sidney Mang’ong’o (Kenyan 1983 – 2020)
Untitled triptych (green, yellow and white), 2019
Mixed media on paper
62 x 45 cm each
Ksh 240,000 – 300,000
(US$) 2,100 – 2,700
Provenance: From the artist’s estate
Born in 1983, Sidney Mang’ong’o started practicing art at the age of 25. While he was never a member of the Kibera-based Maasai Mbili Collective, a meeting with artist, Kota Otieno, and encounters with this group of artists were significant in those initial years. Kota Otieno would go on to become an important mentor and an enduring influence in the evolution of Mang’ong’o’s practice.
Mang’ong’o moved into a studio at the Kuona Trust in 2011, from where he worked for about three years. During this time, a lot of time was spent observing the work of other artists, including a participation in the 2012 Wasanii Workshop along artists such as Ephrem Solomon (Ethiopia), Wanja Kimani (Kenya/ UK), and Dennis Muraguri (Kenya). Mang’ong’o cited Dennis Muraguri and Omosh Kindeh as strong influences during the time he spent at Kuona. Following the move from Kuona, Mang’ong’o, for a time, shared a studio with Kota Otieno in Ngong’, before moving his practice to his home in Matasia.
Mang’ong’o’s practice was marked by experimentation, working primarily in the mediums of painting and collage, often combining of the two. Much of his work relied on laborious layering of found imagery on paper and board, using textures, colours, and political jargons to explore notions of socio-political degradation. His work evolved from representational to purely abstract, using colours in vivid combinations, geometric patterns and paying close attention to texture.
He participated in numerous group exhibitions in Nairobi, including: Ziba Ufa at the Kuona Trust (2011); X-tract, Subtract, Abstract, Circle Art Gallery (2013); Paper II, Circle (2015); Freedom Flight Refuge, Circle (2016); In 2018, he had his only solo exhibition Imagined Structures at Circle which was very successful and introduced his work to a wide audience.