An intimate self-analysis on canvas

Saturday August 4 2018

A Shadow of his Silhoutte, by Naitiemu Nyanjom.

A Shadow of his Silhoutte, by Naitiemu Nyanjom. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG 

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Naitiemu Nyanjom has taken a soul-searching approach in her latest works.

Her paintings are on show at a solo exhibition called Me, Myself and I at the British Institute in Eastern Africa in Nairobi. The event is described as an intimate self-analysis by the artist.

Nyanjom, 24, has created works in different media including photography, ink and acrylics on canvas. The paintings at the BIEA form her personal reflections.

In one collection, she takes a look at the state of women today. Freedom is a large illustration of a dark blue woman dancing on a bright orange background, a crown of thorns above her head. Around the figure are newspaper cuttings of stories about sexual harassment, the risk of speaking out and other challenges faced by women.

During the opening night this painting was reinforced with an actual woman dancing.

A set of smaller canvas paintings in wooden frames formed the theme Questioning.

Nyanjom writes on her paintings. These abstracts in dark burgundy, purple and indigo have thoughtful clauses in white letters. The titles include What lies beyond the unknown? or Am I alive and is it enough?

In the Dear Diary series of images, she brings us further into her inner space with abstract paintings, dripping paint, a dancing woman and parts of letters to friends. The paintings are riveting and yet have hidden meanings, and as a viewer you must make of them what you will.

The death of her father when she was just a child inspired certain pieces such as A Shadow of His Silhouette - An Abyss of Nostalgia. It shows the dark silhouette of a man with a pot belly and golden halo around his face.

The entire painting is encased in a wire mesh frame and there is a something unreachable and faraway about the figure, who was clearly dear to her.

After studying art and design in high school, Nyanjom was mentored by longstanding Kenyan artist Patrick Mukabi in 2013, before stepping out on her own. More of her work is available to view at her Nairobi studio.