MARTIN OTIENO. MASTER BATIK ARTIST & FRIEND

Martin Otieno (1950 – 2014.6.April)

Kuona Trust just posted a thoughtful profile/obituary of our dear friend Martin Otieno. I must share one point that i think could easily be forgotten, and that is that if it hadnt have been for Martin, there might never have been a Manjano annual art exhibition and competition. it was he, who spent a bit of time walking the corridors of the ministry of culture, who knew of the challenge facing late Agatha Ndambuki, the new Department of Culture director. Agatha was given the docket to organize the Nairobi Provincial Art Exhibition but found there had been no records kept, no documentation and no one to give her guidelines on what to do next. she didnt even have a computer or an email! So it was Martin who stepped in and introduced her to The GoDown Art Centre and Joy Mboya and Judy Ogana. They assisted Agatha immensely, first by linking her up with most of the art centre directors around the city and a few media people and scholars as well. That is how the first Manjano was born. There is no telling what Agatha would have done without The GoDown’s support. but more importantly, no telling what she would have done without the assistance of Martin, the wise, kind and thoughtful man who was also an arts advocate and friend to many in the Kenyan art world.

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