Washa – simple tales in complex times | group exhibition featuring Kenyan artists
‘Washa – simple tales in complex times’, features four heavy-weight Kenyan artists and is curated by Jimmy Ogonga, who recently curated the Kenya Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2017. Create Hub is the only gallery in the Middle East region dedicated to contemporary African art.
“The recent explosion of global interest in African art allows Create Hub to bring to Dubai artists who are making a huge mark on the international stage and participating in the art world’s most important and dazzling events. We are extremely proud that the curator and two of the artists from our ‘Washa’ exhibition, come to Create Hub fresh from recent success at the Venice Biennale, by far the most legendary of the global art events.” says Lidija Khachatourian, Managing Director of Create Hub Gallery.
‘Washa’ runs at the Gallery until 6th February, with the art connected by theme of ‘Washa’, which translates to ‘ignite’ or ‘light’; the denoting a sudden disruptive spark. ‘Washa’ also refers to the reflex caused by an itch, and the strong restless desire to take action. In the context of this exhibition, the role of the artist is as a storyteller, a provider of narratives that come about from the creative spark, narratives that link to our pasts and to the futures.
Jimmy Ogonga, the curator, is an artist and producer highly influential in the African art scene. Ogonga was driving force behind the concept and creation of the Kenya Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. Speaking about ‘Washa’ he says, “the four artists in this exhibition all wander the many realms of a mystical world, posing, sifting, gathering bits and fragments, narrating them in simple grammar – a grammar whose immediate effect works to dissolve the opposition between the oral and the written, the past and the present, the traditional and the non-traditional.”
Of the four renowned Kenyan artists taking part in ‘Washa’, Paul Onditi and Richard Kimathi participated in the Kenya Pavilion at the Biennale, with both artists already gaining international attention for their extraordinary talent. Making great waves in their home country are Patti Endo, who has recently been recognized by East African Magazine as one of Kenya’s top ten female artists for her incisive line drawings, and Kaloki Nyamai, whose multi-media work features in the landmark ‘Young Guns’ exhibition in Kenya as one of the county’s top talents. Collectively, the intriguing works of ‘Washa’ are canvasses packed with commentary, admirable for each artist’s highly individual craftsmanship and elemental narrative style, and beguiling delivery of their message..