Rare art pieces up for auction at Circle Art garden

One of the artworks being auctioned is by Elaine Kehew whose solo show opens tonight at Village Market. PHOTO | COURTESY
One of the artworks being auctioned is by Elaine Kehew whose solo show opens tonight at Village Market. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Mercy Kagia had only been back in Nairobi less than a year when she got a call from her friend, the award-winning Kenyan filmmaker Hawa Essuman inviting her to be part of a project.

Hawa is holding a Silent Art Auction Saturday, September 2 from noon to 4pm in the garden of the Circle Art Gallery.

“We are not involved in the auction per se,” said Circle’s co-owner and curator Danda Jaroljmek, who is featuring a one-man exhibition of Michael Soi’s latest paintings in the main gallery. It opened last Wednesday night and will run through the month of September.

“We just donated the garden for the auction which we were happy to do,” Danda added.

Hawa knew she had asked for Mercy’s contribution to her auction at short notice.

But Kagia has kept a relatively low profile since her return from Germany where she’d been teaching fine art and drawing at university.

Actually, she recently had two drawings in The Nude exhibition at One Off Gallery.

But Hawa was hoping that Kagia could donate one of her recent drawings to auction for a worthy cause. Quite a few well known Kenyan artists had already agreed to take part.

They include Chelenge Van Rampelberg, Beatrice Wanjiku, Justus Kyalo, Zihan Kassam-Herr, Maral Bolouri and Mwini Mutuku.

Kagia agreed to donate one of her drawings since she’s a friend to Hawa and her sister Rafia who needs to go abroad for health reasons.

“Many local artists have wanted to be part of the auction since they know and respect Hawa who’s best known for her directing of the film, Soul Boy,” said Zihan Kassam-Herr. A silent auction tends to allow art collectors a rare opportunity to buy established artists’ works at affordable prices.

What finally should make the art of some of Kenya’s finest artists affordable on Saturday is the hope in Hawa’s heart that she and her fellow artists will finally be able to assist Rafia who has a rare condition which could complicate the double hip surgery that she requires as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Olivia Pendergast’s one woman exhibition is up at One Off Gallery, Michael Soi is on at Circle Art Gallery, Samuel Githinji’s show at the Red Hill Gallery, and Heartstrings Kenya are back in action this month.

Their latest comedy is called ‘Below the Belt’ and opens September 6 through 10 at Alliance Francaise.