Boniface Maina works predominantly in painting and drawing. He is an observer of human action and emotion, and in his work, he investigates the inconsistencies and conflicts inherent in human interactions. In this new body of work, especially in the Odd Realities series, Maina reflects on the voluntary and involuntary changes to everyday life brought about by events of the past year. Maina’s characters find themselves in a suspended state, restricted, literally and metaphorically, in the ways they can move and act. In a parallel series, Maina paints himself in idyllic locations: lolling in a hammock behind a white veil; relaxing in front of a fire with a glass of whisky; or tweaking a transistor radio at the fictional Therema Inn, with a rich sunset in the background. In these works, he thinks of the places he’s been, and those he would like to go to.
Maina was born in Nanyuki, where he currently lives and works from. He earned his diploma in Art and Design from the YMCA National Training Institute, Nairobi in 2008. In 2013 he, along with David Thuku and Michel Musyoka founded the Brush Tu artists’ collective, a communal studio space. He has previously had solo exhibitions at The Art Space in Nairobi (Line of Inquiry, 2016) and the Nairobi Gallery (Transitions, 2017). He has participated in group exhibitions in Nairobi, Lagos, Dubai, and Venice. His work has also been exhibited at international art fairs; AKAA Paris, FNB Jo’burg Art Fair, and Art X Lagos.
His most recent exhibition was Watching, Waiting and Wishing, a solo exhibition at Circle Art Gallery and East African Encounters at Cromwell Place, London in 2021. He will be showing at the Cape Town Art Fair with Circle in 2022.