Update - April 2010: We have sold many Joseph Masila paintings in the past - see below - but we have been out of stock since November 2005 - that's more than four years without Masila! Truth is, I thought he was long gone... so imaging my surprise when I discovered a bunch of new Masilas in Nairobi on my latest trip. I bought every single one of them that was in mint condition (some were not), and have just added them on the website. Welcome back Joseph Masila!
Small Masila Bio: Joseph Masila was the last born in a family of eight in the Makueni District of Kenya. His parents exhibited no interest in art, but have always been supportive of their son's life-long interest. "My dream is that one day I will have made a name for myself, to be considered alongside other great artists. It would be good if it gave me the financial muscle to do other things in my life, but this is not a priority now."
A fellow Kenyan artist describes Masila's pieces as energetic, authentic, and 'abstract yet not abstract'. The raw energetic power that flows in the veins of this young artist are strongly expressed in Masila's works as he depicts in his own unique way a call to his ancestors for rain, a rich harvest, or even good family relationships by making sacrifices to the gods.
"In a world where people are jostling so hard for a future they tend to forget about the past," says Masila. Masila shows his appreciation of the past as he thanks his ancestors and acknowledges them by what he calls the inherited gifts from his grandfather. He says, "I am copying his technology and putting it on canvas."
Masila's work has created a lot of interest within the art circles of Kenya. He is seen as one of the new-comers who are truly original and whose artist vision has not been clouded by the environment. "Some of the problems faced by young artists are lack of sponsorship and the issue of marketing. Usually they are not well-off financially and it's a daily struggle concentrating on the work at hand."
Inside African Art is proud to have added Joseph Masila's artwork to the pages of it's website and as a tool for Joseph to expose his artwork on the internet. Joseph will benefit and his artistic endeavors will be rewarded.
Click any of the thumbnails to expand the painting and get a proper look at the intricacies and details within the painting - it's well worth it!
John Mainga was the predecessor of Joseph Masila and the originator of this type of art. It's my understanding that Mainga was hired by the large tourist shop called African Heritage (located on the Mombasa Road, and recently burned down! June/July 2006) to teach a few artists on his school of art. Joseph Masila was one of these students. Then, in 1999, I believe John Mainga was backed-into by a matatu (local transport - minivan) and killed. But not before he produced the very unique and now very valuable paintings on leather. These leather paintings are rare and draw a high price to those that collected them in the early '90s (like me!).
Below is an acrylic on canvas that I found in a shop in Nairobi recently. It is the original school - and there will be no more of these on hand. The place that I bought this actually had a few more, but the owner did not realize the value and took poor care of them - they are scratched and creased - too bad - I could not buy them!
It's interesting to compare the styles of Masila and Mainga.
21 July 2008 - Update: I have just received these two original Maingas on leather. In addition to the paintings themselves, there is some fascinating background documents that accompany the paintings - handwritten my John Mainga himself. For collectors, this is a real bonus.
11 November '05-The paintings below have all been sold. Nevertheless, they are worth seeing:
If you are interested in any of these items:
Write down the Artist Name, Painting Title, Cost - and Or, perhaps you would prefer to Make an Offer?