Artists Redefine Potraits With Radiant Colour
Art Business

Artists Redefine Potraits With Radiant Colour

TUNING UP BY MBUTHIA. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG Two exhibitions just opened simultaneously last weekend at One Off Gallery in Nairobi; one by Ethiopian Fitsum Berhe Woldelibanos and the other by James Mbuthia, a Kenyan. One doubts that Carol Lees intentionally meant to pair their shows despite their having several things in common. For instance, both focus on portraiture, although Fitsum’s attention is on handsome black men while James’ is on wistful African women. Both are also colourists who utilise rich, radiant colour palettes. Fitsum’s colours veritably explode off his canvas while James’ are carefully contained in delineated shapes that give them a subdued effect. James says this show is an extension of the one he had last year at One Off entitled ‘Conversations in Silence’. The two shows are similar except that differences arise out of the artist’s being finely attuned to the environment in which he paints. That includes his being sensitive to everything from the weather and terrain to the sights and sounds of the outdoor spaces that he picks in which to paint. And those have changed over the course of the past year. It’s those subtle changes that are manifested in […]

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