A tribute to Expedito: East Africa’s Renaissance Man who beautified cities

Expedito’s Universal Family in Nairobi City Park at  Murumbi grave. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU
Expedito’s Universal Family in Nairobi City Park at Murumbi grave. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU  

Expedito Mweba, the Ugandan artist who lived and worked for many years in Kenya, passed on a year ago tomorrow February 18. The same day, on the 18th, the multi-talented painter and sculptor who was often referred to as East Africa’s Renaissance Man is being commemorated with a one-day exhibition of his artwork at the Nairobi Serena Hotel.

The tribute to Expedito is being organized by his son, Michael Angelo Mwebe, who worked closely with his talented father from the time he was a small boy. Having been mentored by the late master craftsman and fine artist, Michael Angelo worked with Expedito on virtually all of his father’s projects: everything from the deeply etched panels that one can still see at both the Nairobi Serena in its exclusive Bambara Lounge and the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) to the walls, ceilings, swimming pools and doors that his dad was commissioned to do in churches, private homes and sundry hotels.

The full extent of Expedito’s contribution to beautifying cities like Nairobi and Kampala are yet to be fully documented although one will be able to get an inkling of the full range of his artistry by visiting the Ibis Room at Nairobi Serena tomorrow. For instance, Michael Angelo will display photographs taken while he and his father were designing the luxurious home of the late Jacob Juma.

Unfortunately, not all of Expedito’s art will be on display at Serena since much of it is built into numerous architectural sites and not signed by the artist. The same sort of invisibility exists for the son, Michael Angelo, since he was not only getting trained by his father as they worked all over the city as well as at the Coast.

He was also contributing to his father’s finished product, although he has never quibbled about not getting equal billing to his dad or even getting a minor credit publically for all that he put into his father’s architectural, sculptural and design works.

Best views

At the Serena Tribute to Expedito, one will have an opportunity to see a bit of what the son has created, following in the footsteps of his dad. But to get one of the best views of Expedito’s genius, one need only visit Serena’s Bamburi Lounge and look at all the assorted mahogany wood panels that our resident Renaissance Man made, all of which were carved based on East African literature and folk lore.