Things change as nearly all of them stay the same

“Smokey is I would suggest Onditi himself; observer and victim, like us.

And now although the style is similar, a fresh subject emerges and the artist proves his vocabulary can cope,
as can his palette of beguiling colours (sharp oranges, viridians, greys and salmon; a heady mix).

These are attractive works that look good on the wall.

Two of the main paintings deal with the New Big Issue: Migrants.

Curiosity Beyond Fence I shows Smokey, bag in hand, before a frontier barrier. There is only a small gap through
and beyond lies a dark sea, the Mediterranean, scene of innumerable shipwrecks and drownings.

On his trousers is the pattern of fingerprints — identity is vital — while across his jacket is scrawled in mirror
writing a succession of phrases about visa applications. (“Apply only” is one I could just decipher.)

Smokey is at the threshold of a new life.

Curiosity Beyond Fence II shows Smokey safely across the sea but confronted by yet another barrier. No gap in this
one. Life is a perpetual struggle with shackles whichever way you turn.

Smokey has my sympathy.”

The East African, Saturday, December 26  2015 : By Frank Whalley

Read more here in The East African



Wambui Kamiru

Wambui is the founder of The Art Space and drives the vision for the space.

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