Stephen Otieno, also known as Okuku is a Kenyan born artist based in Nairobi. He does
drawing, painting and graffiti; charcoal on paper, pen and ink on paper, acrylic on canvas, spray
paint on wall as the main medium. He likes art since it is a passion that he started way back in
primary school where he would draw diagrams that teachers would use for instruction in class.
Teachers would ask him to draw art pieces of diagrams as maps, science class drawings to aid
in instruction in class. It is here that he realized his passion for art.
Different artists have different inspirations to their art pieces. Okuku is inspired by hardworking women who go through a lot to make ends meet for their families. Currently he is working on a series
called “Mama Mboga” (woman selling groceries). It’s a story that shows how hardworking women
are and the struggles they go through to make ends meet. Okuku aspires to show the world how
great and important mother and child are for the future of a Nation.
Okuku works on different pieces that are either on commission or personal pieces that depend
on his inspirations. He also does murals on commission basis. The graffiti are becoming
popular in major parts of the town recently he did a mural in Nairobi Eastleigh estate that got
people interested in his work. He sells his art in exhibitions and on online platforms. It Is
becoming interesting in recent days as many local people have embraced art and are able to
buy art during the exhibitions. As opposed to the past where most artists would wait for foreigners
to come and buy the art pieces. Okuku’s work has been exhibited in several group exhibitions
at the Village market, Alliance Francaise, Nairobi University, Panafric, National Museum among others
and also participated in several Manjano Exhibitions in Nairobi Kenya.
Okuku notes that the art space in Kenya is growing and it class for concerted effort from all stakeholders to take part in ensuring a thriving industry. There is dire need for the government to increase support by funding spaces where artists can share experience and gain market access. Okuku is optimistic that through his inspiration of women and children, the society will get inspired to embrace and respect women to the works and struggle they go through.
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