Kaloki Nyamai

More Artwork by Kaloki Nyamai

Solo Exhibitions

2019    ‘Mwaki Nginya Evinda Enge (The Fire Next Time)’, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya

2018    ‘I Am Not My Father’, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa

Group Exhibitions

2019    Investec Cape Town Art Fair, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa

2018    Kampala Art Biennale, Kampala, Uganda

2018    52lager Gallery, Windisch, Switzerland

2018   Also Known As Africa (AKAA) Art Fair, EBONY/CURATED, Paris, France

2018   ‘Summer Exhibition’, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa

2017    Washa, Createhub Gallery, Dubai, UAE

2017   Also Known As Africa (AKAA) Art Fair, EBONY/CURATED, Paris, France

2017   ‘Changing Room’, Kuona Trust Art Centre Gallery, Nairobi

2017   Miradas Gravity Art Gallery, Nairobi

2017   ‘Young guns’, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi

2016   ‘Letters from the other side’, March Oriel plas Glyn Weddw Gallery, Wales

2016   L’Atelier Art Competition, Absa Gallery, South Africa

2016   Circle gallery, Lamu

2015   Nyne Magazine, Exhibisionist Hotel, London

2015   Apthorp Gallery, London

2015   Bricklane Gallery, London

2015   Millentor Gallery, Hamburg, Germany

2014   Omnibus Art Centre, London

2014   Mexican Embassy, Nairobi

2013   Manjano Art Exhibition, Village Market Exhibition Hall, Nairobi

2012   International School of Kenya, Nairobi

2012  Talisman restaurant, Nairobi

2012   Panafric, Nairobi

2011   November Gazzambo Art Gallery, Madrid, Spain

2010   Godown Art Centre, Nairobi

2006   French Cultural Centre, Nairobi


2018    ‘Kaloki Nyamai’, CNN, A Profile Documentary

Kaloki Nyamai was born in Kenya and currently lives in Nairobi. His painting practice entwines material investigation with a wide-reaching exploration of subject matter. Grounded in hidden narratives, uneasy stories of identity, environment and memory, offering fragments to be pieced together slowly. The lengthy, searching process employed in the making of the works is mirrored in the experience of viewing them.

In early works the artist documented the slum settlement that he grew up in. These charcoal pieces are intended to capture a space in flux, to preserve an impression of these fragile sites. But they were also about adding complexity to widely held perceptions of such environments. His work has developed a lot since these pieces, Kaloki’s subject remains closely connected.  Nyamai explores the parallels between the past and the present through richly-layered, multimedia works. Drawing heavily on the stories of the Kamba people, the works explore how history and identity are intertwined and how this has informed the identities of people living in present day, post-colonial Kenya.

“Nyamai’s canvas feels like some sort of rapture, a distinguished composite of loss and reinvention – a symbolic erasure and preservation of memory. What the fire erases, his canvases preserve as debris of memory. Like jazz music, his canvases are an improvised composition – spontaneous, extemporization, ad-libbing. Each brush, strokes over continuously repeating cycles of stitching that alters the visual. He depends on the contours of the burnt and ripped canvas and the possibilities of the stitch’s harmony.”

– Khanyisile Mbongwa