On one of the African art links, I chose Kenya on the map of Africa because I have a niece named Kenya. The only artist listed was Onyango and this piece, Caution to Drivers (1992), caught my eye because it reminded me of a picture I saw on Facebook of Ballaine Road taken Monday morning of this week. The Fairbanks picture was during a freezing rain storm that caused many drivers to end up in the ditch. The Kenyan painting was the result of a fascination with industrialization and the sometimes tragic consequences of it. Just as industrialization and the bottom line can result in pollution, accidents and other tragedies, the poor planning of the school district resulted in buses in ditches or worse, in accidents.
Onyango had a diverse background; he was born in the highlands of Kenya and later moved to the developing coastal regions. His job history is as diverse as the subjects of his painting. He was a bus driver, wood carver, sign painter, fashion designer, farmer, furniture maker, and animal trainer. Onyango chooses subjects that “waver between the exaltation of imported technology and its fragility”. His subject matter also included the relationship with a young white woman named Drosie. He is credited with inverting stereotypes.
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