By Ogova Ondego
Published March 23, 2014
Kenya is a land full of ‘owers of things’ or ‘masters of disciplines’ in every walk of life: land , public transport, politics, religion and knowledge. But now, the country has also spawned ‘lords of art’. One such lord is Tabitha Waithira Mburu, a painter, jewellery designer, teacher and sculptor.
“We hear a lot about land lords; artists are the lords of art. I invite you to an exhibition of some of my personal collections of my own art,” Mburu, who signs her works as Tabitha wa Thuku, says of Lords of Art, a show she is holding in a new art centre called Shifteye Gallery, March 24-29, 2014.
The abstract painter who can also make a living from storytelling or stand up comedy just as a politician would from preaching religion, is one of the lords of art in Kenya. Her exhibition shall be curated by her own daughter, talented artist Edelquinn Wanjiku Njambi who ventured in art as a toddler and sold her first painting before joining pre-school, i.e. at the age of four years. By the time she was 11, Njambi had exhibited widely, participated in workshops and won awards. So she is also a ‘lord of art’ in her own right, isn’t she?
At the time I visited the two lords of art six years ago, their house and studio had more art than any gallery I had seen then: the walls were adorned with large oil paintings. While some were framed, others were just stretched. Still others were just piled up on tables, stools and on any available space. Pieces of sculpture, too, had their own room in the house (sorry, studio/gallery!) that had more artwork than furniture.
I am curious to find out what the duo shall be exhibiting and curating at The Priory Place, Argwings Kodhek Road. Curious, I have to turn up at the gallery in in Nairobi’s Hurlingham area and see if the focus remains on the prize or has it shifted with the crowning of the pair as ‘Lords of Art’ in Kenya.