Robarts uses lockdown to produce over 200 paintings

Monday November 09 2020
Geraldine Robarts.

‘Meditation’ by Geraldine Robarts. PHOTO | KARI MUTU


This year has been difficult for many creatives as the art industry reels from the Covid-19 pandemic. But, artist Geraldine Robarts has kept busy and produced “over 200 new paintings during lockdown.” A selection of her latest pieces is currently on show in her Nairobi home studio and gallery, in an exhibition called Meditation.

As a colourist painter Robarts, 81, is known for her unabashed use of bright colours. Throughout her career, spanning over 60 years, she has covered an astounding scope of styles, themes and media.

“I have been painting every day, sometimes eight hours a day,” says Robarts.

Walking through her garden one can see where she gets some of her environmental-themed illustrations. Butterflies spotted in recent weeks have resulted in lovely nature images in bold colours with liberal use of oil paints typical of Robarts. There are some seascape watercolour paintings created in a semi-realist, sentimental manner characteristic of her earlier works when she first moved to Kenya. There is even a picture of a Cape Dutch house inspired by scenes from her childhood in South Africa.

Over the years Robarts’s work has become increasingly intangible, bigger and sometimes incorporating spiritual themes. A human figure is discernible in the painting Meditation, created in soft acrylic colours.

“I am like a hollow reed through which the paint flows,” she says.


In addition to the big paintings there will be dozens of small pieces in cheerful colours at bargain prices, the kind of work that can brighten up any wall.