Painters 2013

Patrick Kinuthia

The Lamu Painters Festival gave Kinuthia his first experience of being near the ocean, traveling in boats and seeing Kenya’s coastal life first hand. “I love it,” he tells me. “It is a totally different environment from what I am used to in Nairobi.” First there are no cars and the mode of transportation is by boat. Then, the architecture is so different. “I am used to a gate, a lawn and a house” in that order, says Kinuthia. Here, the homes are walled and in its private space you find a garden or courtyard with flowers and trees. “I was really taken by the buildings here. I had never seen anything like Swahili architecture before. It was one of the first things I shared with my family on return.” Kinuthia also likes the respect that he saw for the many donkeys on the island. “I have witnessed donkeys being mistreated in some areas of Kenya. But here I was glad to see them treated well.”

http://patrickkinuthia.com

Kinuthia enjoyed visiting Matondoni, one of the day trips scheduled by the festival organisers. “That trip really stands out,” he tells me. He describes the way the group of artists were received by the villagers and given cut mangoes and madafu (immature coconuts with succulent juice) to drink. “The villagers were incredibly welcoming” he remembers.  “It was a powerful experience for me.” He describes how his guide led him around the village seeking out a scene that caught his interest to paint. When he finally decided on the place, it happened that he had chosen the house and family of his guide. Both were surprised and pleased at the coincidence. Kinuthia also remembers fondly the trip to a farm on the outskirts of Lamu Town. “I remember painting a granary but also I remember the fantastic food we were served sitting on mats under the mango trees.” Afterwards, the artists were given a demonstration of climbing coconut trees without the use of ancillary support. They watched in awe. “He was up that tree in 10 seconds!” Kinuthia exclaims unbelievingly.

Patrick Kinuthia was born in 1967 in Jerusalem, Nairobi. He studied graphic design in Nairobi at the Kenya Polytechnic University. After graduating, he worked as an illustrator designing posters and book covers among other things. He turned to painting later working with a local Pakistani artist, Mohamed Rafiq. Kinuthia enjoys painting portraits and he specializes in the many cultural faces of Kenya. The artist lives in Nairobi with his family.