Presented by Affirmation Arts
May 17 - May 26, 2023
Opening reception on May 17, at 6pm
523 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10013
Affirmation Arts, a multi-disciplinary contemporary art space in Hudson Yards, is pleased to present a showcase of pieces by Pamoja Art Collective, formerly “Hog Ranch Art Department”, and Turkana Artists Xchange, a collaboration between artists from Turkana County, Nairobi County and beyond. The exhibition runs from May 17 – May 26 and marks the first time both collectives are showcasing their work in the United States.
The members of Pamoja were frequent collaborators of legendary photographer Peter Beard in many illustrations of his work for over four decades (1968-2017). The members include Nathaniel Kiboi (Kenyan, b.1943), Solomon Misigo (Kenyan, b.1976), Mwangi Gibson “Mzee Mwangi” (Kenyan, b.1945), Gabriel Macharia (Kenyan, b.1947), Marimbe Parsimei (Kenyan, b.1978), Gibson Kuria (Kenyan, b.1976), Nicholas Njenga (Kenyan, b.1981), and Macharia Mwangi (Kenyan, b.1994).
Turkana Artists Xchange was conceptualized by Jackie Lebo in 2018 as a companion project that grew out of working on the forthcoming feature documentary, Turkana: Race for Resources. It brings together 14 creatives who make new collaborative artworks uniting practices across visual arts, music, fashion and design inspired by and responding to urgent issues in Turkana.
Pamoja’s work is mainly inspired by nature and revolves around wildlife and environmental conservation themes. Most of the members are either self-taught or benefitted from mentorship from other members, like Mzee Mwangi, who attended an arts program in secondary school in 1961. They utilize various techniques ranging from dotting to collage to create contemporary and abstract pieces which highlight our interconnectedness with nature.
Turkana Artists Xchange has, to date, created seven projects since its inception and this is their first exhibition in the United States where work from the projects will be showcased. The exhibition will also feature a unique collaboration between Turkana Artists Xchange and Pamoja to create new work uniting photographs with hand-drawn frames. Alongside these photo-based works is a collection of original paintings from the eight members of Pamoja.
This exhibition will provide a platform for Pamoja to be championed for their little-known contributions to global art. It marks the first step in staking claim on their identity as talented artists, who never gave up on their passion or talent, despite failing to achieve the recognition they deserved. It will also showcase the beauty and talent that Turkana County has to offer.