Jackie Karuti (born 1987, Kenya)
Jackie Karuti is known for her experimental and conceptual work using new media where she explores themes of alternate worlds, access to knowledge, space, death and sexuality through drawings, installations, video and performance art.
Karuti is the 2017 recipient of the Young Artist Award at the Cape Town Art Fair, an alumna of the Gasworks residency program in London as well as Asiko, which operates as an alternative art school hosted in different African cities.
She has participated in several exhibitions & residencies, both locally & abroad, which has seen her collaborate with other artists & institutions in a selection of various multidisciplinary projects.
Karuti currently lives and works in Nairobi.
Lawrence ‘Shabu’ Mwangi (born 1985, Kenya)
Shabu Mwangi began practicing art in 2003. He lives and works in Mukuru slum where he established the Wajukuu Art Project in 2013 with a deep conviction that his work could highlight the lives of the disadvantaged minorities in his community. Deeply concerned by society’s inequality and our lack of empathy for people with different social, political, ethnic and religious beliefs, his work seeks to examine human behaviour and our collective amnesia.
His inspiration is derived from the view that a lot of inequities and frustration deeply affects his society and the actions that is taken especially during highly sensitive political time can give insight to who they are and how they are influenced politically and how they are divided culturally and socially.
In his work, Shabu strives to examine the human behavior and interaction with each-other and what really drives us to a point of losing the sense of oneness and reaching a point where more focus is always on our ego. He constantly reflects on the quest as human being: the acceptance of our condition and at the same time the view that we are forgetful, a kind of collective amnesia, that why I say wealth will never describe a rich man or poverty a poor man in the eyes of a deeper observer.
He has worked with art2be and Hope Worldwide and exhibitions include Pop-Up Africa, 2014, GAFRA, London; Out of the Slum, 2012 Essen, Germany and various group and solo exhibitions in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ephrem Solomon (born 1983, Ethiopia)
Ephrem Solomon observes his environment and presents socio-political works using woodcut and mixed media. Informing his work are views of Addis Ababa and the people that inhabit the spaces around him, as does a fictional world that exists beyond the present – a reality that is free from the limitations of anecdotal recordings of experience. Using black and white to symbolize this juncture in reality, Solomon presents his observations though symbolism and use of archival material, which provide personal and political narratives beyond his locale. Many of his works remain untitled, allowing viewers to identify themselves and those around them. This new series, ’Silence’, examines ideas of mortality and borders, freedom of expression and standing up for social injustice.
Solomon has exhibited internationally, with shows in Ethiopia, Kenya, Dubai and Croatia, Australia and the UK. Recent exhibitions include the NGV Triennial, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017-18), A Painting Today, Stevenson, Cape Town (2017), What about Africa?, Witteveen Visual Art Centre, Amsterdam (2016). His works are held in private collections in Dubai, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and the UK, including the Saatchi Collection.
Gor Soudan (born 1983, Kenya)
Gor Soudan is a conceptual artist living and working in Kisumu and Nairobi. Often subtly engaged with contemporary political and social issues and embedded in urban culture, Gor’s artistic practice is an organic process through which everyday material is transformed into powerful work. He has worked with pages of the Kenyan constitution, carton, plastic, shopping bags and ‘protest wire’ – a tangled black mass of wire he salvaged from car tyres burnt during civil unrests in Nairobi brought about by political tension.
His practice and the works he produces provide acute, often satirical observations and comment on the rapid socio-political transformation Africa, and Kenya in particular, is undergoing. His latest project, Bubbles & Shells applies linear installation using protest wire, natural materials and drawings to explore an ontological history of enclosed spaces, utopian and practical pods and domes, real and fantastical atmospheres or ecosystems observed during his travels to Japan and West Africa.