Wadu was born in 1954 in Nyathuna, Kenya. In the early 80's, after
completing high school, he worked as a teacher and later as a
court clerk. Wadu is a poet and a writer, he wrote plays and poetry.
Wadu began painting professionally in 1985. He used mainly water-colours
and household paints on clothing and sheets of plastic. His eccentricity
became a subject of ridicule among friends and neighbours and
they began to refer to him as "insane", especially since
he gave up a secure career as a teacher and clerk in pursuit of
painting, which to most was an abnormality. His response to their
taunts was to adopt the name Sane which later became his nom
he took up oils and moved from clothing and plastic to paper and
canvas. Though he had received no formal training, his creativity
and drive quickly secured him a national and international audience.
He has had one-man exhibitions in New York and his work has been
shown in the USA and Europe.
Sane Wadu's paintings have alternated between structured single-point
perspective and abstract, dreamlike compositions and forms. He
has moved between a tight, impressionistic style and flowing,
Surrealistic abstracts - sometimes applying paint in constrained
impasto,and sometimes in bright, fluid washes.
choice of subject matter has also followed a shifting and varied
course. Early works often show the wildlife of rural Kenya; hyenas,
buffaloes, leopards, and elephants are depicted in isolation in
a characteristic wide landscape of distant horizons and soft,
muted colors. Though he explains that his inspiration was often
the sight of these creatures, the paintings are more than merely
descriptive. Placing them in a wild, unpopulated landscape, Wadu
says he also pounders the thoughts in the animals' heads.
Wadu paints the bush people as solitary figures, like his wild
animals. Alongside camels, sheep, or cattle is the lone herdsman,
the solo traveler. United through their labors with the environment
in which they're set, the figures confront the viewer with a forth-right
gaze and open, naive honesty - attributes paralleled by Wadu's
style itself. In conception, his people are no different from
as he works to grasp the consciousness of wildlife, many works
are self-portraits in the roles of his subjects in order to attain
a closer empathy with the people he depicts. He is the Virgin
Mary, the farm worker, the lover.
Sane Wadu lives in Naivasha, Kenya with his family - his wife
Eunice Wadu is also an artist, and he regularly conduces art workshops
in schools and local community centers.
the 90's, Sane Wadu's paintings have entered an urban environment
and his compositions have become more abstract. On his increasingly
crowded canvases, the figures press forward and outward, their
massed humanity laid ever more bare.
"Contemporary African Art from the Jean Pigozzi collection",
Sotheby's; Africa-Can.org, "Contemporary Art of Africa",