Paul Onditi, Background I, 2017, Mixed media on digital polyester inkjet plate, 112 x 112 cm / 44 x 44 in, Courtesy ARTLabAfrica
Paul Onditi, Background I, 2017, Mixed media on digital polyester inkjet plate, 112 x 112 cm / 44 x 44 in, Courtesy ARTLabAfrica 

Paul Onditi moved to Germany in 2000, where he studied at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach am Main. In 2010 he returned to Nairobi, where he rapidly gained recognition for the Tower of Babel, an installation based on the age-old homonymous biblical myth. Having started its life in 2009, the work travelled to several countries over a period of three years. Conceived as a socio-aesthetic, interactive installation, the Tower of Babel probed similarities and differences in a “universal” human consciousness, anchoring onto the cyclical mechanisms driving life itself. Digital polyester inkjet plates have fast become Onditi’s medium of choice: a canvas which permits layering ever more complex images onto each other without losing the transparent, dream-like quality much of his work carries. Onditi’s current work incorporates filmstrips, prints, transferred images, and pared down layers of pigment, caustic acid, and thick layers of oil paint. The single, isolated figures occupying the foreground of these works wander amongst abstracted, post-apocalyptic landscapes of singed hues – orange, cobalt, viridian – to haunting effect.