KALOKI NYAMAI, born in 1985 in Kitui, Kenya, lives and works in Nairobi. His first inspirations were his mother, who worked in fashion, and his grand-mother, who was a musician. It is his mother who first taught him how to draw and his grand-mother who would recount the stories history books do not tell. Drawing heavily on the stories of the Kamba people he was told by his grand-mother, Nyamai – a multidisciplinary artist who studied interior design, film and taught art classes before dedicating himself to his craft – explores how history and identity are intertwined. His works are multimedia and characterized by rich layers, offering fragments to be pieced together slowly. The lengthy, searching process employed in the making of the works is mirrored in the experience of viewing them. His work as been presented in fairs and exhibitions in Africa and Europe. In 2018, he participated in the third edition of the Kampala Biennale, curated by Simon Njami, with a monumental installation. In 2022 he has been selected to represent Kenya in the Venice Biennale and DAK'Art in Senegal.
Nyamai has had solo and group exhibitions locally and internationally, including Nairobi, Cape Town, London, Dubai, and Hamburg. His work has been featured in the Kampala Biennale, 2018, and he is included in the forthcoming Dakar Biennale, Stellenbosch Triennial and Ostrale Biennale, all in 2020. His work is included in private collections across the globe.
In 2022 he has been selected to represent Kenya in the Venice Biennale and DAK'Art in Senegal. His first solo exhibition in the US will take place at the gallery in September 2022.
Video Interview - cnn.com/videos/world/2018/02/22/african-voices-kaloki-nyamai-kenyan-painter-portrait-c.cnn
Essay from SAFFCA residency South Africa - https://saffca.com/artistcv/kaloki-nyamai/