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A man of power may be wrong, but he is always right - Bambara of West Africa proverb

Kivuthi Mbuno

September 2007 - Mbuno and Todd in Gallery Watatu - eight years after photos at right!

Note: The colors in this photo are much closer to realistic than the image of the same painting below.
September 2007 - Mbuno and his now older son Titus in Gallery Watatu on the same visit. (see photos right)

Sept 1999 - Mbuno
and Todd in Sultan Hamoud,
the area where Mbuno and
his family reside.

Sept '99 - Mbuno and
 his young son Titus

Kivuthi Mbuno is easily the most acclaimed artist who's paintings are posted on this web page. He is prominently featured in many books on African art and artists, including "Contemporary Art of Africa" (Magnin and Soulillou), and "African Explorers - 20th Century African Art" (Vogel). Each of these books display three full-color pictures of his paintings if you are interested in seeing more of his work. 

Below is an excerpt from "Contemporary Art of Africa", pg.44:

"In his early days, Kivuthi Mbuno worked as a chef on safaris, which led him to travel, primarily into interior Kenya and Tanzania. This is how he came to know nature and it's wild fauna and to maintain the close relationship with them that was to mark him deeply. In 1976, his ties with the family of Baroness Karen Blixen (better known by her nom de plume, Isak Dinesen) led him to settle in Langata, where from then on he devoted himself exclusively to drawing...Mbuno gives himself to nature and shows us the extraordinary in what is commonplace. In a precise drawing style - using ink, colored pencils, and pastels - he combines animals, humans, objects of traditional life, and huge spaces. This is his vocabulary, and it has not changed in almost twenty years.

The model in the artist's mind comes closer to the supernatural than the natural. We would be wrong to believe in one ancestral vision or to see in his work the mark of primitive naïveté The artist himself explains that what he wants to paint is less the reality than the idea he has of nature in a sort of Eden-like era. For him, beauty merges with the lovely harmony of people with their natural environment, and he feels that this way of being in the world might be called "being inside beauty."

Mbuno's extraordinary paintings have been picked several times to represent Kenya in Pan-African art exhibitions. Combining his fine aesthetic sense with the stories and myths of his Wakamba people, Mbuno is able to produce paintings that are both beautiful and symbolically potent.

The combination of the size of his paintings, the bright vivid colors, and his bizarre interpretation of nature, man, and animals - living, fighting, and dieing together - all on a plain of wide spaces and solid colors, is what attracts one to his paintings. They are what I would call 'focal points', adding both color and a point of interest to any room. When you consider the size of his paintings, and then add a matt and frame, they can become incredibly impressive and dramatic. (right - Mbuno and your host!)

Mbuno's paintings have been exhibited in Japan, Paris, New York, Frankfurt, Nairobi - all around the world (see below) - and now they are featured on the pages of Inside African Art - and can be yours!

Mbuno Exhibitions (not recently updated)

1988 Galleria Watatu - Nairobi, Kenya
1990 “Into the Nineties”, Galleria Watatu - Nairobi, Kenya
“Africa Now”, Saatchi Collection, London, United Kingdom
“Kunst uit Kenya”, T.U. Eindhoven Galleria Watatu, Nairobi, Kenya
Galerie Zimmermann und Franken, Mönchengladbach, Germany
1991 "Africa Explores. 20th Century African Art", Center of African Art, New York, U.S.A.
"Mit Pinsel und Meißel. Zeitgenössische Afrikanische Kunst", Museum für Völkerkunde, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
"Custodians View, African Animals by Africans", Galleria Watatu, Nairobi
1992 "Rafiki Wa Zamadi", Galleria Watatu, Nairobi, Kenya
"Kenya Art Panorama", French Cultural Center, Nairobi, Kenya
1993 "Entdeckung. Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Ostafrika", Stadtmuseum Ludwigshafen, Germany
"African Contemporary Art Show", Galleria Parco - Tokyo, Nagoya, Japan
1994 "Rencontres africaines", Musée de l’Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
1996 "Africaanse kunst bestaat niet", Stadsgalerie Heerlen, Germany
2001 "Anima tribale, corpo metropolitano. Arte e fotografia africana contemporanea", Galleria Spazia, Bologna, Milano, Italy 
2002 “Animal Tribale, corpo metropolitano”, Pescheria Nuova, Comune di Rovigo, Italy


Update - 6 November 2007: Four incredible new Mbunos are now available! The one at the far right is very rare and only one of three Mbuno paintings ever to portray a 'mzungu', or white person/European. Note the vested safari suit. On close inspection you will find that Mbuno's African characters who are always living in harmony with the animals in his paintings have deep red eyes, the mzungu's eyes are a pale blue. It is also revealing that the mzungu is carrying a symbol of everything that is against and a threat to animals, a gun.

Title: Crossing the River
Dimensions: 24" x 17.25" (61 x 44cm)
Medium: Ink and colored pencil
on heavy paper
Price: $425 Sold! 26 Feb '08 and on its way to Italy to join the classics!
Title: On Leopard
Dimensions: 38" x 25" (96 x 64cm)
Medium: Ink and colored pencil
on heavy paper
Price: $675
(see photo above left)
SOLD! 27 Nov '07 To an Africanist in Australia!
Title: Follow Giraffe
Dimensions: 38" x 25" (96 x 64cm)
Medium: Ink and colored pencil
on heavy paper
Price: $675
Title: Mzungu Takes Milk
Dimensions:15" x 10" (38 x 25cm)
Medium: Ink and colored pencil
on heavy paper
Price: $900 Sold! 31 Aug '10 - Her first Mbuno inquiry was in 2005. She finally bought one in 2010 - and it's spectacular! Thanks Cindy!
Very rare Mbuno with depiction of 'mzungu' or white person/European. Possibly last one anywhere.

3 July 2007 - More Mbunos! The paintings and dimensions are here! Sorry it took so long to post. Be the first to Make an Offer!

Title: Fighting Leopard
Dimensions: 36" x 23.5" (92 x 60 cm)
Medium: Ink and colored pencil on heavy paper
Sold! 9 July '07
To a huge Mbuno fan in Italia!
Title: On Elephant
Dimensions: 36" x 23.5" (92 x 60 cm)
Medium: Ink and colored pencil on heavy paper
Sold! 27 July '07 - It's on its way to France!
Title: Feeding Zebra
Dimensions: 21" x 15" (53 x 38cm)
Medium: Ink and colored pencil on heavy paper
Price: $425 SOLD! 23rd Oct 2008-Thanks!
Title: Feeding Elephant
Dimensions: 21" x 15" (53 x 38cm)
Medium: Ink and colored pencil on heavy paper
Sold! 9 July '07
To a huge Mbuno fan in Italia!

 

17 July 2006-
Mbuno has sold out! 
Mbuno-On Forest.JPG (72395 bytes) Mbuno-Snake and Lionesse.JPG (79483 bytes)
   Kilinga On Forest Snake and Lioness Elephant's Meeting
  29" x 18.5" 34" x 24"  (96 x 61 cm) 34" x 24" (96 x 61cm) 14" x 9"
  Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper
  SOLD! 15 June 2006-To a collector in Italy!  Thanks! SOLD! 15 June 2006-To a collector in Italy!  Thanks!  SOLD! 15 June 2006-To a collector in Italy!  Thanks! SOLD! 24 August '05 Goes to a return visitor in Los Angeles!

Mbuno-Water

Mbuno-Nzele's Home.JPG (76481 bytes)

Mbuno-Ngundo's Journey.JPG (77578 bytes)
Mongu and Animals  Leopard Encounter Water Nzele's Home Ngundo's Journey
29" x 18.5" 14" x 9" 36.5" x 23.5" 34" x 24" (96 x 61cm) 34" x 24" (96 x 61cm)
Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper Ink, colored pencil, pastel, on heavy paper
$380 SOLD! SOLD! At the Mistletoe Mart back in December, '04  SOLD!  28 November '05 Mbuno goes to Texas.  Thanks, Tom! SOLD!  24 August '05  A second painting for our visitor in Los Angeles! SOLD! 24 August '05 A third Mbuno goes to Los Angeles! 

The paintings below are SOLD but remain on the website just so you can see other paintings of interest by Mbuno.

Mbuno-On Mountain.JPG (88324 bytes) Mbuno-Land Mbuno-Dancing Ceremony.JPG (109292 bytes) Mbuno-Helping
SOLD! SOLD! SOLD! SOLD!
"Old-Style" Mbuno - Rare! SOLD! To a gentleman in Germany! SOLD! To a person in Barcelona, Spain! He made an offer! SOLD! To a person in Barcelona, Spain! He made an offer! SOLD to a real Mbuno Fan!
27 Sept 2002

If you are interested in seeing more paintings by Kivuthi Mbuno, please let me know!

If you are interested in any of these paintings:
Write down the Artists Name, Painting Title, Cost, and
Have an Mbuno of your own!