Painters 2015

Nadia Wanjiru

Nadia Wanjiru was born in Nairobi, Kenya. When she lost her hearing as a child, her father encouraged her to work in creative ways, to engage in more tactile projects. After graduating from high school, she met with Kenyan artist Patrick Mukabi, who worked out of the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi. Wanjiru became a student of Mukabi, learning to paint and draw. After just a few years on the art scene, she was exhibiting at several notable venues including the University of Nairobi, Alliance Française and the Kenya Art Fair 2014. Wanjiru won the student prize award at the 2013 Manjano Exhibition, an important annual event on the Kenyan art scene.

Wanjiru produces charcoal drawings and paintings that combine charcoal and acrylic. Her artwork is marked by strong outlines and heavy contrast. Her portraits feature strong light reflecting off the faces of her subjects. They are painted in a two-tone palette of purple and blue or red and yellow and are characterized by drip marks. This year was Nadia’s first time in Shela. Inspired by the dhows, the donkeys and the baobabs, she concentrated on charcoal drawing, filling the exhibition walls with striking black and white chiaroscuro. It was her charcoal baobabs in particular that truly captured the might and muscle of these magnificent trees. And her lines of donkeys, viewed from the back, revealed her special aptitude for perspective. Nadia’s efforts gained well-deserved attention from the many visitors to the Baitil Aman Exhibition. A young artist with a lot of potential, we expect great things from her.