Charles Sekano

Charles Sekano, the South African artist and musician, lived in Kenya from 1967 to 1997 and now lives in Pretoria, South Africa.

Born in Sophiatown, Johannesburg in 1945, Sekano’s youth was cruelly overshadowed by the consequences of apartheid. Sophiatown was destroyed by the authorities and his family forced in to tribally segregated districts within Soweto. This process of dislocation lead to the early death of his father and to his decision to flee South Africa and exile himself from the harsh and violent conditions that he found himself in.

It was in Nairobi in the 1960’s; amid the very real isolation of exile that Sekano forged himself in to both self-taught artist and musician. Here he lived life in the tradition of a romantic bohemian artist and musician. His artistic expression was and is informed by the sense of loss experienced after his family were uprooted and by the resultant severing of family bonds.

Whilst influences of Picasso and Braque’s Cubism , Toulouse-Lautrec’s and Henri Rousseau’s poster art are clear in his work, Sekano has always rooted himself in the realities of cosmopolitan urban Africa and drawn on the Egyptian and San Rock art for inspiration.

Charles Sekano has exhibited widely in Kenya, Holland and Germany, Japan and the U.S.A., and at the University of Pretoria in 2008. His works are in private collections across the world and in various museums including Volkekunde Museum, Frankfurt, and the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts.


Charles Sekano

Selected Exhibitions

March – The Face of Nairobi, Goethe Institut, Nairobi

September – Come Baby Come, National Museum's Creativity Gallery, Nairobi
July – Gentleman's Club, 16 Rosslyn lone tree, Nairobi

September – Politics, Prostitution, Strip joints and other things, Alliance Francaise, Nairobi

Inmates, Group show, RaMoMA, Nairobi

South African National Gallery
Women Celebrations, Group exhibition, French Cultural and Cooperation Center

Spirit of Friendship, Midlands Art Center

Inner Space, Blue Rhino

Contemporary Kenyan Art, Group exhibition
Wasanii 2000, Group exhibition, Nairobi Museum

Best of Kuona, Group exhibition, Nairobi Museum
Kenya Museum Arts Festival, Group exhibition, Nairobi Museum

Ashes, French Cultural and Cooperation Centre
Complicated Socialization, Goethe Institute