China Loves Africa: Michael Soi

Circle Art Gallery, 15 August – 15 September 2018

Michael W. Soi (b. 1972) is a Nairobi-based artist who launched his practice in 1995 after completion of his studies in fine art and art history. In his work, he tackles current issues in politics, and offers a satirical take on the topics that occupy our public imagination. Soi draws inspiration from contemporary life in Nairobi. His work can be read as a kind photographic diary of Nairobi, offering commentary on social, economic and political trends. He delves into relationships, or what he generally calls the economics of love, the corrupting effects of power, and popular culture within the context of globalization & consumerism.

Soi follows in a tradition of Kenyan cartoonists who have continually poked fun at the establishment. He has developed is a distinct visual language that combines bold lines and and bright colours to create illustrative compositions that are playful and biting at the same time.

China Loves Africa is a just-concluded series dealing with the political and economic relationship between Africa and China. With his characteristic sense of humour and irony, Soi questions the guiding principles of China’s engagement with African countries and leaders, the motivations of the leaders themselves, and the implications of this new global order for ordinary citizens.