“I think that exists two types of people in society: those in power and those who are not in power, thus the element of looking down on the subject/observed.”
Paul Njihia is a self taught artist based at the Kobo Trust Studios in Nairobi, Kenya.
He started painting commissioned portraits in 2010, as a way of making income while he was studying at the University. After completing school in 2013 he became a full time artist and later joined Kuona Trust Art Centre in January 2014. Even if the artist is young, he traveled a lot and lived in 2016 in Artist In Residence, Nafasi Art Space, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and in 2015 in Kenya-Deutschland, Konstanz, Germany.
Njihia is now working on two series of paintings: Nairobi Sisitv Series and The Student Series:
Nairobi Sisitv Series made up of images from an aerial perspective, easily recognizable and not conventional. This arises in situations where the observer looks down on the subject/observed. This may arise from the observer being in an elevated position or from Cctv surveillance. In the Nairobi SisiTv series he looks at the power dynamics in Kenya.
In the student series, the paintings are mainly influenced by his experiences
when he was a student. In the artworks, he tries to capture the familiar school environment and school activities that everyone is familiar with in an effort to evoke emotions on what school meant to the viewer. In Kenya and all over the world, the school system is marred by concerns of quality, relevance, and emphasis on passing exams. The student’s worth is just based on the grades and performance.
In 2014, the young artist won the Award of Most Promising Male Artist by the National Museum of Kenya.