The Lotus Zone 1996 at Kichaka, Kijabe Street

Kamal’s brush is disciplined and thoughtful, it is a symbol maker of spirals, circles, triangles, flames, stars, windows, eyes and the face. That’s Kamal’s face of a deity and a human face, often a woman, sometimes two. Kamal studied English literature, History of Fine Arts and Textile Design in England. That was in the seventies.

The centrality of the face in the paintings is the mystic that gives depth to Kamal’s skill in acrylics and oils. That’s Kamal who has searched for freedom – the independence to be allowed to be what he is without being categorized Asian, Jain, Hindu, African, Kenyan. The paintings bear his name in the Latin and Gujarati alphabet, one over the other, as one.

In Kamal’s paintings, I see ethnicity and modernity; Asian and African; and the all-encompassing universe. I see a tripartite Africa of Christianity, Islam and traditional beliefs systems, and the wide atheist world. Perhaps Kamal is the artist of Asian African origin in post-colonial, post-modern times, who is what he is.


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