John Kamicha

John Kamicha, Untitled, 2014, mixed media on canvas, 160 x 120 cm

Kamicha never went to art school but learned all he knows about art from his father who was a famous artist in Nairobi. “I felt like I was in a palace, I had good quality brushes and paint and everything. I didn’t like going to school, so I focused fully on art. It has always been this way; it was not even a conscious choice. What I’ve always liked about art is that it doesn’t have limitations.” 

Questioning societal assumptions is an important drive in Kamicha’s art. He observes human behaviour and focuses on taboos such as sexual identity, prostitution and critical questions about Christianity. Kamicha started to think about Jesus as a human being and the life he had lived. He became fascinated and wanted to explore this phenomenon in his art so started to question assumptions about religion.

As a reaction to people worshipping images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, he started to make collages of posters. For example, he used Leonardo da Vinci’s painting ‘The Last Supper’ as a basis for a collage. Kamicha explains: ‘Nobody questions the image itself! Leonardo just came up with an image of Jesus and now everyone is copying this and believes this is what Jesus looked like. I played with this image and it’s my own fantasy, not that I am trying to tell the truth, but people should be open and discuss these things. Nobody has copyright on the bible!’ In his collage series he depicts Jesus and the Virgin Mary with explicit sexual connotations and unambiguous titles.

John Kamicha, 100 soldiers series #5, mixed media collage on newspaper, 2018, 115 x 40 cm

In his series ‘Kenyan soldiers’ he pays tribute to a hundred Kenyan soldiers who died fighting in proxy wars. Kamicha explains: ‘I want to experiment and research what happens in Kenyan society. That’s what art is about for me: questioning things, not about adopting a style. I want to wake people up. Why keep quiet and pretend ignorance? ‘

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Would you like to know more about one of these works or buy a work of art? Please send me an email:  rosalie@urbanafricans.com