Born in 1987, living and working in his native Kenya, Onyis Martin knew how, in a few years, to gain his place among the visual artists recognized in Africa. At the age of 32, he had already exhibited on all five continents. In 2006, Martin left the Aquinas High School of Nairobi and in 2010 he enrolled at the arts center, Mukuru Art and Craft before dedicating himself to training in neurolinguistic programming and family constellation therapeutic methods. Onyis Martin is principally a painter, but his work as an artist goes further. Senegalese art critic, Sylvain Sankale, explains that Martin “presents his works on large canvases - onto which several materials and media are glued, giving the work a very characteristic aspect of old walls or collages. They appear, in a palette that is dominated by blue/green and black/brown, as a pile of torn paper, of traces, of diverse colours, of figures and writings painted by the artist that settle on the background. The same half-torn photo of a child, always the same, a photo of identity found by chance, that personifies the wall and that stares us in the eye, with infinite nostalgic sweetness. If we look carefully at the fragments of the poster that remains, it is easy to see that these are small signs that show, without order or measure, the walls of our cities, promoting both fumigation and pest control services as well as the recovery of erectile function for men! Reading the artist's words is quite easy despite an intentional disorder and deliberate confusion. By showing us our own walls, as our contemporary civilization embellishes them or clutters them according to our own vision, Onyis returns us to our urban modernity, a modernity in which not only this contemporary youth moves but also where older generations are forced to adapt. This view of the world around us is universal as these walls are similar to the walls of all the cities on the planet. It also symbolizes our consumer society in which everything is exchanged and everything is sold, everything is a deal and everything is organized, be it our dreams or our pleasures, our fears and our nightmares. We know that the artist is very committed to the issues that challenge him, from the image of all humanity, to trafficking of any kind, human migration, plagues of corruption in both the political world as well as at the institutional level. Added to this are the technological advances that revolutionize our universe and our humanity that are so difficult to follow and make one’s own. Information, consumption, these posters are here to remind us of these two pillars of our contemporary society. Onyis MARTIN scans us, interrogates us and presents his world, our world, as it can be under all its latitudes and, in this way, aspires to the universal.” After his beginnings in his country, Martin's works spread rapidly around the world from a fair in Taiwan, artistic residencies in Germany and Poland, exhibitions in Australia, participation at 1-54 art fair in London 2016 and New York 2017. His presence is prominent in several exhibitions of large institutions in South Africa, including the Cape Town Zeitz Museum in 2019.
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