Local artists to receive royalties from resale of their work in new law

Christ in the Manger by Wanyu Brush. Photo/FRANK WHALLEY

What you need to know:

  • While local artists live in poverty, their works are sold for millions of dollars abroad.
  • Before the signing of this bill, Kenyan artists would only get a one-off payment during the primary sale.

  • The copyright for artwork remains with artists or their estates for the remainder of their lives and 50 years after their deaths

Brush Wanyu, one of the pioneering visual artists in Kenya, is still smarting from a deal he entered into with an American art collector in 2001. The collector, who Brush says used to work at the defunct Gallery Watatu, was to market his art in the US. “In total, I gave her 100 of my pieces,” says Brush. “She gave me $500 (Sh50,000) as the initial deposit; I haven’t received a penny more since then.”

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