Beatrice Wanjiku, 'The Quintessence of Loneliness II', 2016, Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 70 x 60 cm, Courtesy of ARTLabAfrica
Beatrice Wanjiku, 'The Quintessence of Loneliness II', 2016, Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 70 x 60 cm, Courtesy of ARTLabAfrica 

Beatrice Wanjiku’s distinctive canvases and works on paper probe the human condition, delving into the psyche to question notions of reality and positionality. Taking her own experiences as a jumping off point for her investigations into existentialism, Wanjiku’s practice scratches away at the superficial images we project into daily life, peeling away the layers that constitute social norms to reveal the spectral figures that Wanjiku believes represent our inner selves. Her wraith-like figures float away from their monochrome habitats, sometimes alone, sometimes clustered in groups, their form bleeding into further abstraction. A recent body of her work comprising paintings and collages, takes the motif of the straitjacket as an entry point into a wider exploration of social boundaries and regimes of thought.

Wanjiku attended the Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts (BIFA) in Nairobi in 1998–2000. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Group exhibitions from 2015 include Paper II at Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi; and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at Richard Taittinger Gallery in New York, USA.