Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tobias Rix Butama | Kenyan Artist

Tobias Alern "Rix" Butama | Kenyan Artist

Rix Butama was born in Bungoma, Kenya in 1959. His work as an artist has been clearly documented in the Library of the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. and extensively at home in Nairobi, Kenya.

He gained the post of Principal at the Buru Buru Institute of Fine Arts in Nairobi in 1993, which was the first of it’s kind in Kenya. In 1999 Rix was asked to present a television programme called Art Zone for KBC (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation) which he did for 3 years. Since leaving KBC, Rix has returned to teaching and is head of art at a private school on the outskirts of Nairobi. His ambition is to paint the largest mural in the world around 7.5km long. His work is being auctioned off on to raise money for his record-breaking project.

He has had numerous exhibitions outside Nairobi in London, Rome, Chile and the USA. In the words of the artist, "We were not brought into this world to take life as it comes but more according to our talents and living up to them in order to make life meaningful."

Title: Friends
Date: 2002
Size: 15inches by 25inches.
Material: Oil on Canvas

*N.B. Signed and dated by the artist

Friends is a clear example in Rix’s where he is beginning to forge his own distinct style and trying out an remarkable technique of using the palette knife to make textural shapes in the paint. His abstract imagery in reminiscent of Henry Moore’s sculpture or closer to home the influence of the "Shona Sculpture" from Zimbabwe; all these factor generate Rix’s genuine place amongst the best in contemporary Kenyan art circles.

Title: Maasai Series
Date: 2002
Size: 15in by 25 in
Material: Oil on Canvas

and again in the painting Down by the River

Title: Down by the River
Date: 2002
Size: 15in by 25 in
Material: Oil on Canvas

Here are several examples of Rix’s interest in geometry and linear patterns and creating a sense of movement in his work. In the Maasai series Rix has used a black pen to small circles around the faces giving a different element of texture to the work. This is very much his experimental phase and shows an artist battling with aspects that he’s determined to feature in his work. The issue of movement, texture, and geometry leading into fascinating territory in terms of style, imaginative content complimenting rural and traditional culture with the modern. Rix works are amongst the finest works being produced in Kenya today.


laura said...

i am proud of you daddy.

kenmwegainc said...

If it wasn't for you, I won't be where I am today....thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

Kudos cousin. You have done us proud.