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ANTHONY WAKABA MUTHEKI (article first published : 2006-02-18)

Anthony Wakaba Mutheki is creating a major stir amongst serious art collectors in South Africa and internationally. This is despite the fact that he has no formal art training and started his career from the most humble beginnings.

Mutheki's latest exhibition, Into the Light, recently opened at the new Kizo Art Gallery at Gateway. Boasting sell-out shows in New York and Philadelphia, Mutheki anticipates a great response to his most recent contribution which runs at the Kizo Gallery until March 1.

Into The Light is Mutheki's most powerful exhibition to date, offering an intimate insight into the extraordinary life and work of this local success story. He acknowledges that the irony of his success is in most part due to the hardships he endured in his youth. "Having lived in a shelter in Johannesburg, surviving from the sale of empty Coke bottles, I experienced and learned to understand poverty and the harsher side of life. These experiences have taught me to treasure life and have inspired me to recreate this love of life through the medium of art," he says.

Craig Mark, part owner of the Kizo art gallery, met Mutheki in Johannesburg in 2001. Recognising his raw talent, Mark agreed to both fund and assist the artist in marketing his work to the public both locally and abroad. The two have since relocated to KZN where their relationship has flourished along with Mutheki's professional career.

Craig Mark comments, "It is often argued that Tony's lack of formal art training has given his work an attractive roughness and integrity of its own. His works are uniform in their power, each having the gift of capturing a mood with such honesty, so as to literally stop the viewer in his tracks."

Mutheki's work is extremely versatile and includes various mediums such as oils, acrylics and an array of interesting textures made from mixed media such as Hessian. His style ranges from modern contemporary to ultra realism.

Since 2001, he has taken part in numerous exhibitions both internationally and throughout South Africa. This year he has been chosen as the featured artist to exhibit at the hugely successful Decorex trade show in Cape Town from April 27 to May 1. Other exhibitions include the New York Art Expo, Philadelphia International Black Arts Festival, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Antiquarius Gallery (Soho, New York) as well as The SA Cardiff Trade Show.

Further information from Craig Mark on 031 566 4322 or 083 777 6644 or e-mail: craig@themarkgalleries.com




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