Nairobi Gallery is expected to host a pilot Visual Arts Mentorship Programme. The event brings together veteran artists and sculptors to share/exchange career molding ideas with fledging beginners.

During the project's initial segment, two well known Kenyan artists Ancent Soi and soap stone sculptor Elkana Ong'esa, lead the team of 25 established and emerging artists who will participate in this ambitious capacity building visual arts initiative.

Notably, both these veterans hail from the so-called 'first generation' of Kenyan artists but with Ong'esa having benefited from academic training at the prestigious Makerere University's School of Industrial and Fine Arts.

On the other hand, Soi is considered among the most accomplished of the era's 'wing' of self-taught artists, most of whom are still reckoned to be some of Kenya's finest contemporary painters.

According the programme's co-ordinator Lydiah Galavu - who is also the Nairobi National Museum's Arts Curator, "this mentorship programme offers an exceptional opportunity for emerging artists to develop both their creative process and professional skills," she remarks.

Working in a conducive environment - within the Nairobi Gallery's creative space - the veteran artists will have an opportunity to talk about their individual decades-long insights, knowledge, hand's-on experience and making use of available resources to forge a career in the visual arts.

On Day One, the programme's schedule entails an in-depth discussion focusing on the Art of Painting with participants getting to interact first-hand, with Soi - whose career dates back to the 1970s to the 80s.

During mid-break after this session, artist-cum-businessman Hosea Muchungu, is expected to present a talk on the subject 'Supporting Your Art Career with Alternative Investments'.

One of the noble initiative's sponsors and collector - Mugwe Manga, will share poignant insights on 'Why I Buy Local Art'. This is potentially one session most beginner artists are bound to pay keen attention, as they seek tips on the kind of paintings or sculptures likely to stir appeal or interest amongst indigenous art buyers.

On Day Two, the focus shifts to an Art of Sculpting discussion, moderated by globally renowned sculptor, Ong'esa. During the break session, artist and Bonzo Gallery curator Adrian Nduma is lined up to present a talk on 'Building Confidence in Arts Career Management'.

The Mentorship Programme has been facilitated through the collaboration of the Nairobi National Museum Arts Section - with supported from Banana Hill Art Gallery, Bonzo Art Gallery, Kenice Investment and art collector Mugwe Manga.

Ancent Soi


Soap stone sculpture - Elkana Ong'esa

Elkana Ongesa

Ancent Soi painting