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National Museums Launches Artist-in-Focus Project

By Khalifa Hemed
Published October 23, 2017

Giving Water, a Rosemary Karuga collage done by sticking old newspaper and magazine cuttings together is on display at Nairobi National MuseumNational Museums of Kenya (NMK) launched a project through which it will display and promote the work of artists in its permanent art collection.

“Each month, on a dedicated display board we shall feature one artist from the National Museums of Kenya permanent art collection at Nairobi National Museum,” NMK says in a statement to the media.

The initiative has kicked off in October 2017 with the work of Rosemary Namuli Karuga who NMK describes as “a renowned sculptor and collagist.”

On show is ‘Giving Water’, a large collage done in the Rosemary Karuga signature technique of sticking old newspaper and magazine cuttings together and a rare clay sculpture of a hen and chicks.

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Rosemary Namuli Karuga, the museum says, was born in Meru in 1928 of a Ugandan father and Kenyan mother and had her early education in both Uganda and Kenya before studying in the Faculty of Fine Art of Makerere University in Kampala between 1950 and 1952.

She is reported to have taught art for about 40 years before she retired and became a full time artist.

Rosemary Karuga (bottom right) with Bruce Onabrakpeya (top left) and El Anatsui (top right) in Harlem, New York, USA, in 1992 NMK says Magdalene Odundo, a world-famous ceramist recently appointed Chancellor of the University of Creative Arts in Farnham in Britain, once studied under Karuga.

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“As a full time artist Karuga exhibited around the world alongside famed African artists such as El Anatsui, Bruce Onabrekpeya and Ablade Glover,” NMK says.

In 2006 Karuga became the first ever East African woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, which is an accolade presented to Africans in Ireland for their achievements and contributions to Irish society.

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Karuga’s work is found in the collections of NMK, Kenya National Archives (KNA) as well as individuals.

Rosemary Namuli Karuga’s work shall remain on display at the Nairobi National Museum October 20-November 15, 2017.


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