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Art of drawings

Local masters emphasise heart of old craft

| DOMINIC MUWANGUZI | Drawing as a discipline largely forms the spine of art-making. If a person can draw they can create art since drawing presents the widest scope of artistic expression; be it sculpture, painting, installation or photography. Drawing still forms the core of art production regardless of new art forms.

There is, however, a growing tendency among young artists to undercut drawing; especially at tertiary art education institutions.  Whereas in the past it was critical for a learner to master drawing; with emphasis on acquiring technical competence in anatomy drawing, these days art students opt for genres that dodge the rigour of putting elements of art in practice. They avoid traditional emphasis on, for example, proportionality, perspective and tonality.

An ongoing group show by Circle Art gallery (Kenya) dubbed, I Will See What I Want To See’, seeks to emphasise the centrality of drawing to art. It is devoted to the method of drawing in art making and features some of the region’s best artists like Jessica Atieno, Jonathan Fraser, Dennis Muraguti, Naddya Adhiambo and Anthony Muisyo.

Most successful artists in the Circle Art Auction; an annual art market for art from the East African region, have exceptional drawing art skills. Their exhibit this time seeks to ask the question: what does it mean for artists to move through the world with drawing as a method of interpreting it?  The artists answered that with drawings that present a wide-angled view of the word “drawing” as well as the action itself.  It is an experimental approach intended to stimulate further innovative art- making.

It is a feast for the public in diversity, creativity, originality, and relevance. The public love Jessica Otieno’s exploring female identity in contemporary society and what that means to the public. Peter Kamwathi has iconic drawings of almost miniature and haunting human figures presented in series form to represent political and social themes in a global context. Jonathan Fraser’s consummate charcoal drawings of human anatomy ooze technical competence.

The exhibit is referenced on exhibitions like Surfaces1& 2 where selected artists produced art underlining the discipline of drawing. That had artists like Ocom Adonias, Adrian Migadde, Kyakonye Allan, Piloya Irene, Leonard Opondo and Neema Iyer. They produce innovative art.

By mounting an exhibition of solely drawings, Circle Art gallery, hopes budding artists will inspired to reflect on how drawing continues to influence art production in the contemporary times.

‘I will See want I want to See’ opened on Nov. 13 to run to Dec. 07 at Circle Art Gallery, in Lavington, 910 James Gichuru Road, Nairobi, Kenya. Images courtesy of Circle Art gallery

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