David Thuku

Artist Name
David Thuku
Total number of artworks
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date of birth
About the Artist

David Thuku, born in 1985 in Nakuru, Kenya, has established himself as a significant figure in the Nairobi art scene, both as a painter and a mixed media artist. Benefiting from the support of the Langalanga Scholarship Fund, Thuku's educational journey culminated in a graduation from the BuruBuru Institute of Fine Arts in Nairobi in 2009. His commitment to fostering artistic community and collaboration led him to co-found Brush-Tu in 2013, a creative arts collective that offers artists studio space and opportunities for collaborative exchange. Further advancing his career, in 2016, Thuku became associated with the esteemed Kuona Trust Arts Centre.

Though Thuku initially gained recognition for his oil paintings on canvas, his design sets for drama festivals, and various public commissions, he has been quietly exploring the medium of paper for many years. It wasn't until 2015 that he publicly showcased this facet of his work. Employing the sgraffito technique, traditionally used in plasterwork, Thuku adapted this method for paper. He layers sheets of paper, chosen for their physical qualities and hues, then meticulously cuts and peels them away to construct intricate images.

This innovative approach marked a significant evolution in Thuku's artistic practice. His current paper works are a deeply personal investigation into the constructs of social structures, identity, and the phenomena of urban migration, depicted through semi-abstract portraiture. The figures in Thuku's art represent archetypes rather than individuals, characterized by symbols such as ties, smart shoes, or workman's helmets. These portraits serve as a medium to explore the quotidian spaces we inhabit, peeling back layers to probe and reveal underlying societal issues—such as corruption, private domestic spheres, and personal choices—that often lie concealed beneath the surface. Through his art, Thuku invites viewers to reflect on the complexities of the human condition and the intricacies of societal interactions.