Abstract Art by Kenyans at PWC Building

ABSTRACT ART SHOW BY KENYANS, A FIRST AT DELTA CORNER OF NEW PWC SKYSCRAPER By Margaretta wa Gacheru. Published May 24, 2013 in Business Daily, Nairobi The ‘pop-up’ exhibition of abstract art that opened a week ago at the Delta Corner of the brand new PriceWaterhouseCooper building in Westlands was entitled Xtract * Subtract * Abstract. But I could just as easily have called the group exhibition of eight Kenyan and Kenya-resident artists Never Before, Never Again. The reasons are obvious: Nairobi has never before seen an art exhibition wholly committed to exposing the power and painterly genius of abstract art. We’ve never before seen a serious collection [curated by the newly formed Circle Art Agency] of non-representational art by Kenyans Justus Kyalo, Sidney Mang’ong’o, Emily Odongo, Michael Wafula and Peter Walala as well as Kenyan residents Jason Corder, Sibylla Martin and Xavier Verhoest. ‘City Rhythms’ by Emily Odongo,part the ‘pop-up’ exhibition of Abstract Art at new PWC Tower.//Nor has Nairobi ever seen a whole exhibition situated in such a spacious light-filled setting, occupying an entire ground floor of the brand new PWC building. The Corner was especially conducive to exposing the imaginative appeal of abstract art, a genre not often associated with Kenyan contemporary art. But the show only ran for a week, which is why Circle Art nick-named it a ‘Pop-Up’ exhibition. “We plan to find more spaces like this in future and hold short ‘pop-up’ exhibitions in order to grab the public’s interest,” said Circle Art cofounder Fiona Fox. Her partner cofounders are Danda Jaroljmek and Arvind Vohara. But unfortunately, a show like Xtract-Subtract-Abstract will never be seen in Nairobi again. Why? It’s because in a few weeks, the space will be transformed into a restaurant. The exhibition might go elsewhere, but the impact Circle Art achieved by hanging monumental paintings in this wide-open, high-ceilinged space won’t be easily staged again. Nonetheless, Circle Art fulfilled its goal of introducing Nairobians to the elegant appeal of abstract art, which until recently has primarily been the preserve of Westerners such as Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollack.

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