Exposing artists in Kenya to the rest of Africa - CNBC Africa

Exposing artists in Kenya to the rest of Africa

East Africa

by Tendai Dube 0

Nearly 300 artists, art lovers and collectors of modern and contemporary art attended the auction. Photo: Wikipedia

The third annual Circle Art Agency auction drew close to 300 artists, art lovers and collectors of modern and contemporary art, reaping in nearly 200 000 dollars in sales.

The auction took place in Nairobi, recording more than 187,000 dollars and exposing many African artists to one another – one of them is Kenya’s Dickens Otieno


Dickens Otieno finally had his dream come true to participate in the auction this year after missing the first two exhibitions.

"Being at the auction has been a dream for me since it started,” Dickens Otieno said.

Otieno believes the auction gave artists a platform to sell their work, but most importantly, it gave them the opportunity to meet other international players in the industry.

“It’s a very good thing to happen and I encourage most galleries to do this this thing,” he added.

He appreciates the global exposure the auction provides and hopes galleries in Kenya follow suit and increase the exposure for its artists by touring the world.

Otieno started his path in art as a hobby, doing it for fun but when he finished school he had to live on his own forcing him to make a living and earn from his favourite pastime.

He calls himself a contemporary artist, describing that as art that is “a reflection of the society right now".

Otieno has noticed a growing interest from Kenyans in local art, for their homes or to buy as gifts – he feels they are starting to appreciate art right now.

Interesting to note is that Otieno’s says the value of art pieces has very little to do with how much time or material was spent on making it.

"To me there are two prices for art, one is what the artist is willing, to let go of the piece and the other price is what the buyer is willing to give for that piece."

The auction helped Otieno by determining market value prices for his art which he felt was useful.

"It opened up the world for me, it brings in players from different countries - people are able to see and interact with my work.”

"What I can advise young artists is just work hard, nothing comes easy – whatever it is because some things are very hard to start.”