Annabelle Wanjiku (Kenyan, born 1963)
Entwined, 2018
Signed ‘ANNABELLE 018’ (lower middle)
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
104.5 x 58 cm
Ksh 220,000 – 310,000
(US$) 2,000 – 2,700
Provenance: Direct from the artist

Annabelle Wanjiku was one of Ruth Schaffner’s most celebrated Gallery Watatu artists. She used to travel from Diani, at the coast, to show her work to and be mentored by Schaffner, who considered her one of the most interesting female artists of her generation in Kenya. She moved to Uganda over a decade ago.

Wanjiku became a single mother extremely young and says that this period of hardship and rejection taught her about love and has influenced the subject of all her paintings: the importance of family life, co-existence and bringing people together. Her love of humanity and nature can be seen in her joyful painting using an impasto technique of laying paint on canvas and creating her own paints using clay and natural pigments. She is renowned for her intertwined figures painted in strong blues and yellows.

Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions since the early 1980s in Kenya, Uganda, Germany, the USA and Japan. A favourite of Ruth Schaffner at Gallery Watatu, Wanjiku remains one of Nairobi’s legends from the post-Independence era.