- In contrast, the two other artists exhibiting with Salvador on the top floor of Village Markets have been visited by Tewa in their home studios.
- Most striking is the captivating energy that all their works of art emit.
Tewa Thadde is a man who has made the most of his time during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When we saw how artists did not have physical spaces to exhibit, and not all Kenyans took their art online during the lockdown, I felt I had to branch out to find artists who shared their art on social media,” the self-appointed curator. Narrator BDLife last weekend at Nairobi’s Village Market, where his current group show, ‘Leaking Spirits’ was extended for the weekend.
“Alternatively, artists come in contact with me, like the one from Cameroon, Tomnyuy Salvador, who saw me and all the artists I promote on Instagram and asked if I could help him with an exhibition,” Tewa adds.
In contrast, the two other artists exhibiting with Salvador on the top floor of Village Markets have been visited by Tewa in their home studios.
“When I went to Kampala and saw the huge amount of art, like Muramuzi [John Bosco] had created during the lockdown, I was tempted to give him a solo show. But then I saw the connection between the works of Bosco, Salvador and Sheila Bayley and realized that their art would harmonize well in a group exhibition, ”explains Tewa.
And he was quite right. All three artists, including the Kenyan, Sheila Bayley have much in common. Most striking is the captivating energy that all their works of art emit. All show an electrifying intensity that has obvious differences.
But they are all painters who cover their canvases with meticulous images that require scrutiny, not just a passing glance. This is especially true of Bosco’s and Bayley’s works, which combine detailed drawing with colorful contrasts.
Further contrast comes from Salvador, who identifies himself as an immigrant roaming in Morocco, where his art reflects his insecure lifestyle. It’s all black and white.
But there is a similar entanglement of lines, curves, and what Kenyans call ‘panya trails’ that lead to who knows where? In the middle of the lines, he is posted thumbnails reminiscent of those found all over Africa in the ancient rock art many millennia ago.
More current and relevant to the present are Bayley’s and Bosco’s. But from Tewa’s perspective, the three have something else in common.
“They are all in transition from place to place,” he says, referring not only to Salvador’s shift from Cameroon to Morocco, but also to Bosco’s move from its western Ugandan village to the city of Kampala years ago.
Sheila’s movements are more cerebral and range from former psychology student to so-called self-taught artist and mother of a seven-year-old.
It is Bosco’s art that welcomes you at the entrance to the art space on the top floor. The curator made a wise decision to place his art at the only entrance to the hall. If you’re not overwhelmed by what a few potential customers said they were, you should be captivated by its charm.
Trapped in the intertwined branches, roots and other replicas of Mother Nature in all her richness, luxurious entanglement and glory, one also gets glimpses of skyscrapers and cars and other facets of city life.
“I try to express all my experience in my art,” says Bosco, who grew up caring for his father’s sheep and goats and watching his mother always weave grass and banana fiber mats.
When he came to Kampala in 2014 after finishing high school at home, he was attracted to artists ’studios where he felt he had found his calling.
“I spent two years with Yusuf Sali and Kaspa while also studying art at the YMCA Institute,” he says. Becoming a mentor to two of Uganda’s most famous artists served the 30-year-old artist well.
Like Bosco, Sheila Bayley reflects her life experience in her art. But unlike his, her work is more unfathomable. It seems that she tells stories in her paintings, even though her characters emerge from what often seem like high-rises.
The biggest difference between her and Bosco is that her works have more geometry, more parallel and perpendicular lines, while Bosco’s elongated lines are always curved like the underground roots of a tree.
One of Bosco’s most distinctive paintings proves what the artist says about including his life experiences in his art. It is from his wedding, where he and his bride are the center of the painting’s attention.
Still, both the bride and groom as well as members of the wedding party have an almost caricature-like shape. But again, in contrast, the tone of Bayley’s art is more sober and reflective.