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 didnt 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.
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