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.
Mwambelelio Mweo (Your discomfort is my comfort)
This installation is a labyrinth of sisal rope, money boxes from the Bank of Uganda and a heap of cow dung in the middle collected from Stellenbosch farms. It is symbolic of time and space, and the discomfort that surround us within the spaces where we are supposed to co-exist.