How Carol Lees Built Her Gallery One Art at a Time
Art Business

How Carol Lees Built Her Gallery One Art at a Time

Elias Mongo’ra’s piece. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG Carol Lees has a lot to show for her 25 years exhibiting Kenyan contemporary art as she illustrated last Wednesday at her 25th anniversary exhibition at Nairobi’s Rosslyn Riviera Mall. She has had long-standing friendships with all 16 artists whose latest works fill the spacious walls of One Off ‘annex’. For instance, Richard Kimathi is one whose artworks she showed when she was still at Serendipity, the first gallery she opened after leaving McNaughton – West Interiors and heeding advice from her friend, Mary Collis. It was Mary who encouraged her to meet the need many artists felt in the early 1990s for a gallery. “I had just turned 30 and felt I needed to do something for myself,” she told BDLife. The idea of opening a gallery made sense to her since she knew many artists through her interior design work. It was work that required her to fill the walls of leading banks, hotels and commercial offices with excellent artworks preferably by locals. “I started off with works by Mary [Collis], Nadia Kisseleva, Tums Yeshim and one Sudanese artist who’d recently come to Kenya,” she recalls, having […]

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