Artists of Africa: Martin Kamuyu

Renowned artist Martin Kamuyu remains at the forefront of Africa’s thriving art scene, garnering worldwide admiration for his paintings depicting cultures of the continent. Throughout his career, the painter has exhibited tremendous talent, forging a lasting impact on the world of African art as a whole. His creative works have appeared in several popular galleries throughout the world. Tunde Folawiyo and million more with an appreciation for authentic African art may ever hold Kamuyu’s artistic achievements amongst the most significant in the history of the genre.

Born in the Kiambu district of central Kenya in 1972, Kamuyu began his schooling at the Nyoro Nursery School during 1978. In the years following, he began his primary education, later joining Ruiru’s high school to earn a secondary education. During this time, the artist’s dear mother suffered a stroke, which caused him to drop out of school to care for his younger siblings.

Tunde FolawiyoWhilst his days were spent on domestic work, Kamuyu came to recall his interest in art while attending primary school. With this, he began sketching – sketches which would later be decorate with a variety of objects such as leaves, charcoal, soil and egg yolks. Kamuyu’s father later visited another popular African artist, Shine Tani, Kamuyu’s cousin. Seeking financial assistance, Kamuyu’s father was astonished upon learning that Shine earned a living through his art. He then remembered his own son’s passion and talent for art, inviting Shine to visit in order to judge the creative works of his cousin. During August of 1992, Shine indeed visited his cousin, becoming impressed by his work and encouraging him to go forth with his dreams. He later took the young painter under his wing, providing him with shelter, painting materials and food.

Upon Kamuyu’s completion of a few pieces, Shine selected a total of six amongst them, taking them to a local gallery where Ruth Schaffner bought them all. Later, Kamuyu himself sold several more, living on his own with his earnings. He continues to conduct research on art. Seeking to portray the culture and daily lives of people throughout Africa, the artist attributes luck to his success. Later in his career, he became employed as a painter and designer in Product Design, which he quit later to pursue his own artwork. He was also once employed by Ramoma, a Gallery. He assisted in the coordinating of various projects, solidifying his place in the lucrative world of African art. Today, his paintings continue to inspire a new generation of art lovers, including Tunde Folawiyo and countless others.


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