Hawker-artist who lives on his work alone

Every Monday and Tuesday, you will find Richard Kamau Kimbo, without fail, at the junction of Peponi Road and Lower Kabete - hawking his batik art.

“I can make two or three batiks in a week; then I bring them out on the street for the public to see,” said Kamau.

“I started hawking my batiks in 1969 after learning the technique from Elimo Njau who taught me at Paa ya Paa Gallery when it was still in Sadler House on Koinange Street.”

He says his sales have been consistent, even during the economic downturns which have seriously affected sales at commercial galleries.

Hawking his work at the corner has helped him educate his seven children and see at least two of them go for further studies in the US.


Kamau admits the life of a hawker is not an easy one. He is his own sales person and does not have to pay the gallery commission of the sale of his work, allowing him to sell his art at a relatively low price.

What makes his batiks more marketable than most is the quality of his art: his market scenes are boisterous, busy and filled with colourful characters as well as lots of lovely green foliage.

He also doesn’t shirk on size with his cotton canvases measuring 1.5 meters by a meter.

His work offers an option for new art collectors, who cannot afford to pay the high prices to start at this corner.