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Kivuthi Mbuno





Born in 1947 in Mwangini, Kenya
Lives in Langata, Kenya

In his early days, Kivuthi Mbuno worked as a chef on safaris, which led him to travel, primarly into the interior of Kenya and Tanzania. This is how he came to know nature and its wild fauna and to maintain the close relationship with them that was to mark him deeply. In 1976, his ties with the family of Barones Karen von Blixen-Finecke (also known under her pen name, Isak Dinesen), and author of best seller « Out of Africa », led him to settle in Langata, where from then on he devoted himself exclusively to drawing. These lengthy treks inland, as well as the traditional life of the Wakamba tribe, from which he comes, have inspired him. Mbuno gives himself to nature and shows us the extraordinary in what is commonplace. In a precise drawing style – using ink, color pencils and pastels – he combines animals, human, objects of traditional life, and vast spaces. Here, these vast territories of Africa have none of that hostile aspect usually ascribed to them. Animals appear in perfect harmony with one another, as well as mankind, which is represented in a grotesque yet elegant style, and move with the same ease as animals they are hunting.

The model in the artist’s mind comes closer to the supernatural than to the natural. Mbuno explains that what he wants to paint is less the reality than the idea he has of nature, in a sort of Eden-like era.

In 2013, Kivuthi Mbuno was chosen to represent Kenya at the 55th edition of the prestigious Venice Biennale.



SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2013
Kenyan Pavilion - 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

2002
Animal Tribale, corpo metropolitano,
Pescheria Nuova, Comune di Rovigo, Italy

2001
Anima tribale, corpo metropolitano. Arte e fotografia africana contemporanea,
Galleria Spazia, Bologna, Milano, Italy 

1996
Africaanse kunst bestaat niet
Stadsgalerie Heerlen, Germany

1994
Rencontres africaines,
Musée de l’Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

1993
"Entdeckung. Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Ostafrika", Stadtmuseum Ludwigshafen, Germany

"African Contemporary Art Show", Galleria Parco - Tokyo, Nagoya, Japan

1992
"Rafiki Wa Zamadi", Galleria Watatu, Nairobi, Kenya

"Kenya Art Panorama", French Cultural Center, Nairobi, Kenya

1991
"Africa Explores. 20th Century African Art", Center of African Art, New York, U.S.A.

"Mit Pinsel und Meißel. Zeitgenössische Afrikanische Kunst", Museum für Völkerkunde, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

1990
“Into the Nineties”, Galleria Watatu - Nairobi, Kenya

“Africa Now”, Saatchi Collection, London, UK

“Kunst uit Kenya”, T.U. Eindhoven Galleria Watatu, Nairobi, Kenya

Galerie Zimmermann und Franken, Mönchengladbach, Germany

"Custodians View, African Animals by Africans", Galleria Watatu, Nairobi

1988
Galleria Watatu - Nairobi, Kenya

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1996
Contemporary Art of Africa,
Moke p.164-167 by Jacques Soulillou.
Edited by André Magnin and Jacques Soulillou.
Publisher Harry N. Abraams.

1994
Revue Noire, March-April-May, 1994, pg 13