What you need to know:
- She says she was starting to acquaint herself with the local art scene when her family decided to move upcountry.
- She had participated in numerous group exhibitions, including ones at Dusit D2 Hotel, McKinsey’s annual young artists showcase, and even the Canadian High Commission.
- But she admits that moving upcountry was a great catalyst to apply for opportunities abroad for further art studies.
When she’s not chatting about organic farming on her sister’s YouTube channel, Here with Fi or wandering through her family’s orange and lemon orchards in Milangina village near Nakuru, Christy Hannah Wambui Njogu is busy painting.
The 24-year-old artist may be living upcountry, but her creative output has been keeping pace with her gigantic aspirations even after her family shifted from Nairobi to Nyandarua County a few years back.
“I never studied art formally, although we had it in my secondary school,” says the young artist who took her O-levels in 2015 at the British High Commission.
“That was because I was home-schooled during my last year of secondary, and my previous education followed the British system, so that’s how it happened,” she says.
Participated in numerous exhibitions
Having got a rich taste of fine art in secondary school at St Christopher’s in Karen, Christy was keen to find ways to continue her art education.
“I applied and was able to get a six-month art residency in Canada at the Ottawa School of Art,” she says.
While she was there, she applied to be a full-time student, which she will be starting in April the following year.
She says she was starting to acquaint herself with the local art scene when her family decided to move upcountry. She had participated in numerous group exhibitions, including ones at Dusit D2 Hotel, McKinsey’s annual young artists showcase, and even the Canadian High Commission.
But she admits that moving upcountry was a great catalyst to apply for opportunities abroad for further art studies. “My time in Canada reassured me that I was on the right path, pursuing my love of art and beauty and nature,” she tells Life&Style.
Having returned to Kenya a few months before the Covid-19 lockdown postponed any opportunities for exhibiting locally, Christy says she has been documenting everyday country life since then. She’s working on both YouTube with her sister and in her art at her home studio.” In the process, she has been inspired by the beauty of the Kenyan countryside.
Proud to be living on her family’s organic farm, Christy says all of the fruits and vegetables that her people grow are non-GMO and grown without any chemical pesticides or non-organic fertilisers.
She loves the farm life
Noting that some people might think that one misses out on developments in the local art scene when she is living upcountry, Christy believes she has been advantaged, not disadvantaged, by living outside the hubbub of Nairobi’s bustling urban life.
“Before I went to Canada, I hadn’t been certain that art was the way I wanted to go with my career. But by the time I applied for the residency, I had made up my mind,” she says.
Mainly inspired by the impressionist painters of the 19thcentury, like Claude Monet and August Renoir, Christy says Monet’s Waterlilies may be one reason she got so fascinated with painting water.
She has created a series of water studies using multi-media and creates almost a sculptured effect as she layers her white acrylic paints into practically three-dimensional textures of wavey foam and surf.
She had hours of opportunity to study the sea and the tides with her family when they would take vacations to Malindi while she was still in secondary school.
Christy has also gotten into digital art, which she will share with her other acrylic and watercolour series.
Let’s hope she decides to hold at least one exhibition of her work before leaving Kenya for Canada. For now, we can find her art on Facebook and her YouTube channel, Here with Fi, and we can communicate with her there.
“I also have a small YouTube channel of my own for my art entitled Christy Hanna Art. I am also on Instagram @art_by christyhannah,” she adds.