Untitled IV

Kaloki Nyamai


Mixed Media on Canvas, 2018


137cm x 151cm 

More Artwork by Kaloki Nyamai

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


Solo Exhibitions


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


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


Group Exhibitions


Kampala Art Biennale, Kampala, Uganda

52lager Gallery, Windisch, Switzerland

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

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


Washa, Createhub Gallery, Dubai, UAE

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

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

Miradas Gravity Art Gallery, Nairobi

‘Young guns’, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi


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

L’Atelier Art Competition, Absa Gallery, South Africa

Circle gallery, Lamu


Nyne Magazine, Exhibisionist Hotel, London

Apthorp Gallery, London

Bricklane Gallery, London

Millentor Gallery, Hamburg, Germany


Omnibus Art Centre, London

Mexican Embassy, Nairobi


Manjano Art Exhibition, Village Market Exhibition Hall, Nairobi


International School of Kenya, Nairobi

Talisman restaurant, Nairobi

Panafric, Nairobi


November Gazzambo Art Gallery, Madrid, Spain


Godown Art Centre, Nairobi


French Cultural Centre, Nairobi




‘Kaloki Nyamai’, CNN, A Profile Documentary