‘Why I love Kenya’ is a visual art exhibition that opened on July 29 at Polka Dot Gallery in Karen, Nairobi.
The show includes artworks by a dozen Kenyan artists, including Yony Waite, Wilson Matunda, Patrick Kinuthia, Nayianoi Sitonik, Leah Njenga, Kennedy Kinyua, Elias Mong'ora, David Roberts, Damba Ismaeli, Caroline Mbirua, Coster Ojwang and Anne Mwiti.
Most of the artworks were landscapes, colourfully amplifying the brilliant natural beauty of the countryside. Most were filled with multiple shades of green that was splashed across lots of rolling hills. Such are the paintings of Patrick Kinuthia, Coster Ojwang and Caroline Mbirua.
A few captured hues of Kenyan waterways like Lake Naivasha (Leah Njenga), Lake Baringo (David Roberts) and the Indian Ocean (Nayianoi Sitonik). Meanwhile, Yony Waite paints Athi Plains using shades of black and white and a bit of ochre brown.
All that beauty clearly revealed why many people love Kenya.
A few of the paintings display other dimensions of the country’s city life. For instance, Wilson Matunda’s ‘Players’ are deeply engrossed in playing checkers (be it in an informal or a gated community) while Elias Mong’ora’s and Damba Ismaeli’s boda boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers expose the fact that many urbanites (including myself) appreciate the convenient transportation that they provide.
Nayianoi’s tuk tuk offers the same sort of aid to us who don’t want to endure Kenyan traffic behind a wheel of our own.
But it’s Kennedy Kinyua’s congested yet colourful rural bus stage that displays the other side of Kenya that is to be loved. For not everyone can afford to enjoy the game parks and scenic sides of the country as we are working to put bread on the table and pay our children’s school fees. Such workers can also see the beauty of Kenyan daily life in the fellowship we find rubbing shoulders with our friends and strangers.