David Thuku, 'Empty Seats (The Red Chair)', 2016, Paper cut, paper collage and sgraffito on paper, 75 x 55cm, Courtesy of ARTLabAfrica
David Thuku, 'Empty Seats (The Red Chair)', 2016, Paper cut, paper collage and sgraffito on paper, 75 x 55cm, Courtesy of ARTLabAfrica 

Whilst primarily known for his oils on canvas, design sets for drama festivals and public commissions, David Thuku has been privately working with paper for years and first showed this group of works in 2015. Using the ‘sgraffito’ technique – normally associated with applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colors to a moistened surface and then scratching material away to reveal parts of the underlying layer – Thuku superimposes several sheets of paper, carefully tested and selected for physical properties and color, and then cuts and peels them away to reveal carefully constructed images.

In 2013, Thuku co-founded Brush-Tu, a creative arts collective providing artists with studio space and collaborative exchange and in 2016 he joined the Kuona Art Institute. Thuku tutors young artists from the Kenya Youth Empowerment Program, The Buruburu and Kenyatta Universities as well as teaching art students under the Langalanga Scholars Association project.