Paul Onditi


Born in Kenya in 1980, part of a generation of young African artists working on the continent whose engagement with contemporary practice is rapidly gaining international attention, Onditi's paintings explore richly layered images and contemporary global issues through the use of highly experimental, labour intensive techniques. Filmstrips, prints, transferred images, pared down layers of pigment, caustic acid and thin layers of oil paint are patched together in meticulous ways to visualize an imaginative world that carefully unpicks at current divisions and tensions based on the same ideological, political and religious differences that have plagued our collective existence since time immemorial.

Onditi's works highlight global issues connecting us all: pollution, climate change, natural unrest and loss of resources. He examines the cyclical nature of human experience and behaviour, encapsulated in the oft-touted expression "what goes around, comes around". Typically his work depicts a lonely character, christened 'Smokey', who represents a blank state of mind. The artist works in muted hues, favouring murky greys and dark blues to navigate what he refers to as the dilemma of the human condition.

Onditi has participated in many group shows in Kenya and Europe and has had several solo show in Kenya and Germany. His work has been included in Bonham's Africa Now auction in London in 2013 and 2014. In March 2016 he was selected to participate in VOLTA, New York, with a solo show and the 2017 VENICE BIENALLE exhibition 'Another Country'