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Githinji Patrick (°1977, Nyeri, Kenya) makes paintings, photos and drawings. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, Patrick creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles.

His paintings establish a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver. These works focus on concrete questions that determine our existence. By applying abstraction, he investigates the dynamics of landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what landscape means to us. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.

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For all this Kenya is and always has been African.

For all this Kenya is and always has been African. The leakeys’ discoveries have made it possible that man’s first post-simian ancestor lived in East Africa. Which begs the perhaps fatuous question, whether beneath the shag his skin is black or white. The first historian s’ African contemporaries were unquestionably ebony; Herodotus, the ‘Father of History’, calls even the Egyptians malanes (black) and in the works of almost every travel writer since, whether authoritative or arm-chair, the Nubians’ southern neighbors have been Negro.

East Africa people, like melodies and smells, have frustrated the experts’ attempts to define. With blood-ties, origins and religion all found wanting, language is the yardstick now usually accept. The linguistic criterion gives the region five main African strains, or four, or three, depending on which experts work your prefer.

Those tribes known as and speaking Bantu (a group of languages itself ill-defined) are the most numerous. (The word enlightening means People.) their supposed origin is West Africa, whence their Drang nach osten took them first to Uganda, where they settled as the people of Baganda, Bunyoro, Toro, Ankole and Busonga, then, interbreeding to some extent with the Hamites to Kenya as the Kikuyu, Abaluhya, Akamba Embu, Meru, Taita and Giriama.

The older-established Hamites must, if they really are nephews of lepheth and shem, have come to Africa from Arabia. They moved south, perhaps in the 100th centuries, and today servive principally in northern Kenya as the once-powerful Galla and the picturesque if less developed Boran, Rendille, somali and Samburu.

The NIlotes (because they travelled up the Nile) remained en route as the north Uganda Achori, Jonam, and Alur; settled north and west of Lake Victoria as the Ja-luo, and spread south and east as the masai, whom ethnologists recently promoted from the Nilo-hamatic to the Nailotic class, live astride several main tourist routes and have thus become disproportionately familiar to (and with) visitors.

The Nilo-Hamites (a term which the language criterion makes as meaningful as Frangalais) were originally Hameties that merged and migrated with the Nilotes. Having that merged and migrated with Nilotes. Having pressed southward in the 18th and 19th centuries, the group is presented in Kenya today bu the Kipsigis, turgen, nandi and turkana. Little remains of the putative fifth group, aboriginal and perhaps prehistoric: Tanzania’s Kindiga of lake Eyasi, akin of the Bushmen and speaking a click language; lake turkana’s fish eating Molo, whom student expecttions snd letters to the Times revived for the West in the 1950’s and Dorobo, a fragmented and scheduled community that lives off hunting, grubbing and honey.

It is customary to call East Africa’s people agriculturalists, pastoralists or hunters. While large uniform communities in outlying areas (the Maasai, for example, or the Karamajong cluster) retain these occupational name-tags, they are made increasingly inapt by improved commutations, steady tribal disintegration, intermarriage and economic progress. People of particularly flamboyant interest are lavishly portlayed in Mirella Ricciardi’s masterpiece, Vanishing Africa. Less selective, more aesthetic documentary, is the ‘comprehensive record of Kenya’s peoples’ which the Kenya government commissioned Joy Adamson to paint in 1948-57.

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