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Richard Onyango was born in the western highlands of Kenya, near Lake Victoria. While Onyango was still very young his family moved to the developing costal regions. His father worked for the 'Tana River Irrigation Scheme', and Richard Onyango became fascinated with the signs of industrial development in the African landscape: trucks, tractors, bulldozers, planes, etc. As a child he recorded such impressions in a series of sketches he called “photo pictures” of “whatever my eye could see.” He has explained further, “To keep things properly in mind I had to draw them since I didn’t have a camera to record what I would like to put in memory.”

These elements are still present in Onyango ’s paintings. He frequently chooses to depict situations that waver between the exaltation of imported technology and its fragility. Accidents, warnings, calls for prudence reveal a world constantly threatened by disaster and the unforeseeable.

This psychological tension is notably present in the paintings that Onyango dedicated to his relationship with Drosie. White and curvaceous, the young woman is represented in imaginary or real situations that compress all the fantasies that Africa projects onto the West. Whether depicting the couples’ alternating domination and submission or the fascination exercised by a life-style synonymous with luxury and wealth, Richard Onyango succeeds in inverting stereotypes and denouncing their inherent violence.


source: CAAC

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