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One who eats straight from the cooking pot will have heavy rain on his wedding day - Swahili of East Africa superstition

Robert Aswani

On a recent trip to Kenya, I had the good fortune to meet up with Robert Aswani at the Sarit Center in Nairobi. (see photo, right) We had a pleasant lunch at the new Monsoon Restaurant and discussed his paintings and recent successes in discovering a new style and medium. After painting wildlife and real-life scenes to please a mass audience, he is now painting in a style that not only pleases his own eye, but seems to have found a nice following in Kenya, and especially in Tanzania where he displays his paintings at a gallery/cafe in Arusha.

Left: Robert Aswani  with one of his paintings. This photo was taken in Tanzania by a fan and collector of Aswani's paintings. Thanks for the contribution! At right: Aswani and Todd in 2002 - we go back!

I asked Aswani to write a small biography to be included in the website and he wrote the following:

"I was born in Kenya in 1971, and grew up in a rural part of western Kenya known as Luanda. While growing up as a kid, I loved going to the market just to get the excitement of seeing many people gathered together.

After my High School education, I came to Nairobi to live with my aunt.  Luckily there was a neighbor who was an artist, so I received

This is a detail of the incredible ocean paintings. The 'water' is a highly tactile acrylic giving a feeling of depth. I tried to take this photo so you can get the feeling of the texture.

my informal lessons in the evenings. This is my best part of my approach to painting, my ability to learn and watch, and translate this onto paper or canvas.

Being mostly self-taught, I love to experiment with many painting styles, but I have settled on watercolor inks for now. The market scenes are a true reflection of the market places in my rural home in western Kenya."

Robert has become a household name in Arusha, Tanzania, and currently makes his home in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Concerning the paintings on this website:

The rural and informal marketplaces that he would visit as a young boy with his mother were an early inspiration for him. "The marketplace is full of life, color, and the closeness of people", says Aswani, "The intermingling of people in these informal places provides me with the excitement to paint". 

One thing you will always see in Aswani's market scenes is at least one character in white (see detail above left). I asked Robert about this and he laughed saying, "Oh yes, he must be there! He is the life of the scene and all others surround him. I love to paint him the most because he is so easy, he's just space without color!"

Also see the brother of Robert Aswani - Introducing the fantastic art of Zack!

Jan 2013 - I have promoted Robert Aswani on my website for 14 years - he was one of the original artists when I started this thing. In the course of these 14 years we have met many times - it's always a pleasure to see him. The photo at left is our latest meeting just last month (Dec 2012). I purchased many of the paintings below from this visit.

Incredible maturity and a high level of wonderful abstractions make his paintings extremely unique. Aswani follows nobody and his paintings are a refreshing departure from what I could call 'typical' contemporary paintings from Africa.

His paintings are among my all-time favorites and it's an honor to be able to give him the exposure he deserves on this website.

(the photo top right was taken ten years ago!)
 

 

The Paintings:

Animal/Abstract/impressionism:

Title: Mt. Kilimanjaro Splendor 2
Dimensions: 30" x 28" (75 x 71cm)
Medium: Textured acrylics and textile on canvas
Price: $680
Title: Giraffes in Heaven 2
Dimensions: 30" x 28" (75 x 71cm)
Medium: Textured acrylics and textile on canvas
Price: $680
Title: Herding Lights
Dimensions: 21.5" x 15" (55 x 38cm)
Medium: Watercolor, texture paper and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $400
 
Title: Giraffe Heat
Dimensions: 22" x 7.5" (56 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor, texture paper and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $180
  Title: Zebras in Tall Grass
Dimensions: 30" x 28" (75 x 71cm)
Medium: Textured acrylics and textile on canvas
Price: $680 Sold! 2 Jan '14 First sale of the new year - and on its way to -27 Canada!
Thanks Marie - you are in our prayers.

If you are interested in any of these paintings, please write down the artist's name, painting title, and price -
and click to go to the Purchasing Form. Or, you can always Make an Offer and see what happens!

Also see the brother of Robert Aswani - Introducing the fantastic art of Zack!

Title: Humbled
Dimensions: 21.5" x 15" (55 x 38cm)
Medium: Watercolor, texture paper and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $400 Sold! 31 July '13 - To a longtime friend of this website - Thanks so much Marie! Is your Aswani collection complete? I don't think so!
Title: Giraffe Alive
Dimensions: 14.5" x 11" (37 x 28cm)
Medium: Watercolor, texture paper and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $180 Sold! 31 July '13 - To a longtime friend of this website - Thanks so much Marie! Is your Aswani collection complete? I don't think so!
Title: Market Ladies
Dimensions: 15" x 11.5" (38 x 29cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Price: $140 Sold! May '13 - To a longtime customer and supporter of this website!
Thanks Carolyn!
Title: Giraffes in Heaven 2
Dimensions: 30" x 28" (75 x 71cm)
Medium: Watercolor, textile and textured
acrylics on paper Price: $680
Sold!
18 Apr '13 - And on its way to Kentucky! Thanks Geralyn!
Title: Mt. Kilimanjaro Splendor
Dimensions: 30" x 28" (75 x 71cm)
Medium: Watercolor, textile and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $680 Sold! 29 Apr '13 - To a long-time customer in Canada who has safaried South Africa and someday will go to Kenya! Thanks Marie!
Title: Giraffe Heat
Dimensions: 30" x 28" (75 x 71cm)
Medium: Watercolor, texture paper and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $680 Sold! May '13 - And on its way to Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa! Thanks Sharon!
If you are interested in any of these paintings, please write down the artist's name, painting title, and price -
and click to go to the Purchasing Form. Or, you can always Make an Offer and see what happens!

Also see the brother of Robert Aswani - Introducing the fantastic art of Zack!

Market Scenes:

Title: Market Madness
Dimensions: 15" x 11.5" (38 x 29cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Price: $125
Title: Market Scene 122
Dimensions: 11" x 7.5" (28 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Price: $95
Title: Market Scene 123
Dimensions: 11" x 7.5" (28 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Price: $95
Title: Market Scene 6
Dimensions:  11 x 7.5"  (28 x 19 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Cost: $75
Title:   Market Scene 4
Dimensions:  7.5" x 6"  (20 x 15 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Cost: $50
Title: Market Scene 124
Dimensions: 11" x 7.5" (28 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Price: $95
Title:  Market Scene 7
Dimensions: 11" x 7.5"
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Cost: $75
Title: Market Scene 2
Dimensions:  15" x 11" (38 x 28 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Cost: $125
Title: Market Scene 121
Dimensions: 11" x 7.5" (28 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Price: $95
If you are interested in any of these paintings, please write down the artist's name, painting title, and price -
and click to go to the Purchasing Form. Or, you can always Make an Offer and see what happens!


Ocean Scenes:
 

Title: Golden Sunset
Dimensions: 11" x 7.5" (28 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $100
Title: Buoy in Gold
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $100
Title: Very Large Orange
Dimensions: 22.5" x 15" (58 x 38cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$360 Sold! 13 Dec '13 - And on it's way to Australia - Thanks Vicky!
 
Title: Ocean Calm 1
Dimensions: 11" x 7.5" (28 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $100
Title: Ocean Calm 2
Dimensions: 11" x 7.5" (28 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $100


Aswani's Animal Paintings:
 

Title: Oryx in Tall Grass
Dimensions: 11.5" x 15" (29 x 38cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Price: $100
Title: Zebra Love
Dimensions: 15" x 11.5" (38 x 29cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Price: $100
Title: Hungry Cheetah
Dimensions: 15" x 11.5" (38 x 29cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Price: $100


Stylized Maasai:
 

 
Title: Carrying Bananas
Dimensions: 7.5" x 21.75" (19 x 55cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$160
Title: Maasai Woman
Dimensions: 7.5" x 17" (19 x 44cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$150
 
Update: Robert Aswani was featured in the August - October 2010 Msafiri, the Kenya Airways in-flight magazine!

Since then, we have been getting inquiries for Aswani's 'Wash Day' Paintings.

As a special request, Robert Aswani has painted a few of his internationally famous Wash Day paintings exclusively for Inside African Art. We have already fulfilled a few 'private orders', and we wanted to make these available.

Msafiri Issue 72
August 2010 - October 2010
 
Title: Wash Day 1
Dimensions: 22" x 15" (56 x 38cm)
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Price:$ 300 Sold ! 18th Oct '11 Thanks Larisa !
Title: Wash Day 2
Dimensions: 22" x 15" (56 x 38cm)
Medium: Watercolor on paperper
Price:$ 300 Sold ! 5th Dec 2011- Thanks Chris !
Title: Wash Day 3
Dimensions: 22" x 15" (56 x 38cm)
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Price:$ 300 Sold! 20 Dec '10 - She started it all!
Thanks Connie! And hope you're feeing better!
Title: Lady Congress
Dimensions: 21.5" x 14.5" (55 x 37cm)
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Price:$260 Sold ! 18th Oct '11 Thanks Dunika !
Title: Life Alive
Dimensions: 15" x 11" (38 x 28cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$160 Sold! 16 May '11 - It will look even

better in person! Thanks Lee!
Title: Giraffes in Heaven
Dimensions: 22" x 15" (56 x 38cm)
Medium: Watercolor, texture paper and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $400 Sold! 13 June '12 - As an inspiration to his students! Thanks AJ!

If you are interested in any of these paintings, please write down the artist's name, painting title, and price -
and click to go to the Purchasing Form. Or, you can always Make an Offer and see what happens!

I have just added these lovely ocean scenes by Aswani - The shimmering water and multi-dimensional feel of these paintings are truly unique!

I have added these unique as well as serene watercolor and acrylic paintings by Aswani. I actually caught up with him as he was boarding a shuttle from Nairobi to Arusha, TZ, and gave him a list of the paintings that I needed. He sent the paintings back to Nairobi for me through his brother Zak, who is also a talented artist. Though I only saw Aswani for a short time, we communicated often while I was in Nairobi and it was really nice to see him. His paintings are always innovative and set trends among the artists circles in Kenya and across the frontier to Tanzania, where he has set up his own gallery.

Below are the six new paintings that I acquired from Aswani, in a style that is proving to be very popular. Note that the long paintings in the middle have a very defined textural element in the sky. I believe Aswani has used a mixture of newsprint and glue (machete) to give the sky a dimensional effect that contrasts highly with the waviness of the oceanscape. This makes fro a fascinating and evocative image that stands alone in paintings from East Africa. Nobody is doing this magic!

Title: Blue 2
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$100 Sold! 23 Nov '11 - And on the way to nurse in Scotland - Thanks Laura!
Title: Buoy Near Blue Horizon
Dimensions: 22.5" x 7.5" (57 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper with machete
Price: $260 Sold ! 5th Dec 2011- Thanks Chris !
Title: Sunset C
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$100 Sold! 24 Aug '10 - To a person whose family is immersed in art.
Thanks Charles!
Title: Market Scene 9-Huge
(you can see my feet as a size reference)
Dimensions: 30" x 22" (77 x 56 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Cost: $380 Sold! 28 Feb '11 - Her first online purchase and it's incredible! Thanks Morayo!
Title: Zebra Alive
Dimensions: 16" x 12" (41 x 31cm)
Medium: Watercolor, texture paper and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $180 Sold! 2 Sept '12 - Thanks Jennifer!
Title: Sunset B
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$100 Sold! 22 Jan '11 - To a real survivor! Thanks Debi

Previous:

Title: Blue 1
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$100 Sold! 24 Aug '10 - To a person whose family is immersed in art.
Thanks Charles!
Title: Sunset A
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Price:$100 Sold! 23 July '09 Thanks Debi!
Title: Buoy in Golden Sunset
Dimensions: 22.5" x 7.5" (57 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper with machete
Price: $260 Sold! 7 Feb '08 - To a return visitor of which this website
 appreciates very much! Charles, Teresa - asante sana!
Title: Buoy in Blue
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper
Price:$100 Sold! 25 Nov '08 And on the way to the UK!
Title: Golden Fishermen
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $100 Sold! 28 Nov '08 - Thanks Katherine!
Title: Gulls in Blue
Dimensions: 11.5" x 7.5" (29 x 19cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper
Price: $100 Sold! 25 Nov '08 And on the way to the UK!

21 October 2005 - We were sold out, but now have added several new wonderfully colorful Market Scenes by Aswani.  Be sure to scroll throughout the page until the bottom to see all your choices.  Thanks!

If you are interested in any of these paintings, please write down the artist's name, painting title, and price - and click to go to the Purchasing Form. Or, you can always Make an Offer and see what happens!

Title: Market Scene 59
Dimensions: 11 x 7.5 in 
(19 x 14 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Cost: $75 SOLD! 21 Jan '08 She made an offer I couldn't refuse!
Title: Market Scene 58
Dimensions: 11 x 7.5 in 
(19 x 14 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
Cost: $75 SOLD! 12th August 2008 - Thanks!
Title: Market Scene 1
SOLD!  14 July 2006-To a new visitor in Texas!  Thanks!
Title: Market Scene 8
SOLD!  To  California!  Thanks!
Title:  Market Scene 5
SOLD! 
2 December '05-To a visitor in Virginia.  Thanks!
Title: Market Scene 3-Long
SOLD!  7 November '05
To a returning visitor in Indiana.  Thanks!

13 April 2006 - I have added the paintings below. It's great that Aswani has added to his painting repertoire with some additional styles. The 'dusk' paintings below are incredibly beautiful! Click on the detail (center) to see how textured the dusk paintings are.


Title:
Ocean Beautiful
Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 in 
(19 x 14 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and textured acrylics on paper
Sold! 29 Aug '07 He made an offer I couldn't refuse - Thanks!

Title:
Unloading Matatus
Dimensions: 11" X 7.5" (29 X 20 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Unavailable
Ann - I'm really very sorry about this. I feel terrible.
 
Title: Dusk with Birds
Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 in 
(19 x 14 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
1 Jan '07 - Wow! Sold some time ago to a guy who was trying to sooth his pregnant wife... I wonder if it worked?
Title: Dusk with Buoy
Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.5 in 
(19 x 14 cm)
Medium: Watercolor and acrylics on paper
1Jan 07 - Wow! Sold some time ago to a guy who was trying to sooth his pregnant wife... I wonder if it worked?
This is a detail of the incredible paintings at left. The 'water' is a highly tactile acrylic giving a feeling of depth. I tried to take this photo so you can get the feeling of the texture.

The Maasai portrayals below are more a study of color and contrast than actual paintings of the Maasai. Each painting blends wonderfully bold colors with a single character bleeding color to the background. Though they are fairly narrow,  the vibrant colors draw the eye from far. They look best seen in numbers as opposed to alone. The edges of some of the paper used in all of these paintings are 'natural'. 

Please note that because of the color combinations I had a difficult time duplicating these paintings in Photoshop. The colors are similar to the real piece, but some of the blues are actually purples. If you have any doubts about the colors, please ask and I will clarify.

Aswani-Maasai small4.jpg (32309 bytes) Aswani-Market Scene sm4.jpg (98406 bytes)
Title: Maasai Pose 5, 6, 7
Dimensions: 5.5 x 15.5 each
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Cost: $60 each-Sold! 12 July '07 Thanks!
Title: Maasai Pose sm4
Dimensions: 4" x 11" 
(10 x 28cm)
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Cost: $35
SOLD! 21 Jan '08 She made an offer I couldn't refuse!
Title: Market Scene sm4
SOLD! Jan. '05  Off to Spain!

 

 
Aswani-Market Scene sm1.jpg (105880 bytes) Aswani-Market Scene sm3.jpg (97605 bytes) Aswani-Market Scene sm2.jpg (96267 bytes)
Title: Market Scene sm1
SOLD!  11 August 2005-To Australia!
Title: Market Scene sm3
SOLD!  11 August 2005
Title: Market Scene sm2
SOLD!

The paintings below are approximately twice the size of those above. Because of this added dimension you get a better feel for space as well as the energy and chaos that pervade markets of this nature. There are more people and activities packed into these paintings, though both sizes reflect the energy and vibrancy of the markets in Africa! These paintings, as all of Aswani's work, are truly interesting and fun to look at; the type of painting that you never tire of admiring.

Aswani-Market Scene med1.jpg (107995 bytes) Aswani-Market Scene med2.jpg (108997 bytes) Aswani-Market Scene med3.jpg (111609 bytes) Aswani-Market Scene med4.jpg (94640 bytes)
Title: Market Scene med 5
SOLD!  11 August 2005
Title: Market Scene med1
SOLD!
Title: Market Scene med2
SOLD! 1 May '04 This painting may be printed in a very beautiful calendar!
Title: Market Scene med3
SOLD! 28 Jan '04
Title: Market Scene med4
SOLD!

And finally we come to the end of the market scenes. Wow! There are a lot of them! The paintings below are exceptional! The one on the left is 'poster size' and can easily be the focal point of any room. Imagine this painting framed! The two next to it are also very big and would make a fantastic addition to any room or office - they are wonderful!

aswani_large.JPG (135353 bytes) aswani_med_w_sky.JPG (112250 bytes) aswani_med_w_houses.JPG (131792 bytes)
Title: Huge Market Scene with Houses
SOLD!
Title: Large Market Scene with Sky
SOLD! 1 May '05-It's in Pennsylvania!
Title: Large Market Scene with Houses
SOLD!

The Maasai paintings below are similar to those at the top of this page except larger and a bit more detailed. The background of 'Maasai Pose med1' is exceptional in the abstract touch. 

Do not be fooled! 'Maasai Pose large' is a very big painting even though the thumbnail looks the same as the others. It is twice the size and this makes it more spectacular!   Though these are sold, click on the images below to appreciate the larger picture.

Aswani-Maasai med5.jpg (56497 bytes) Aswani-Maasai med6.jpg (38313 bytes) Aswani-Maasai large7.jpg (42263 bytes)
Title: Maasai Pose med1
SOLD!
Title: Maasai Pose med2
SOLD!
Title: Maasai Pose large
SOLD!- it'll be a 'focal point'! 10 Jan '04
Aswani-Maasai small1.jpg (34245 bytes) Aswani-Maasai small2.jpg (34019 bytes) Aswani-Maasai small3.jpg (34475 bytes)
Title: Maasai Pose sm1
SOLD!  19 November, 2005-At the Bedford, NY St. Patricks Christmas Boutique! 
Title: Maasai Pose sm2
SOLD!  19 November, 2005-At the Bedford, NY St. Patricks Christmas Boutique! 
Title: Maasai Pose sm3
SOLD!  19 November, 2005-At the Bedford, NY St. Patricks Christmas Boutique! 

Please see the Maasai artist Ole Kolii Paul's Inside African Art homepage to learn more about the Maasai!