Fierceness in animals is a defining characteristic of Lennox Ogada’s work.
He combines movement, shape and realistic details to tell stories about animals to show similarity in traits with human beings. He also seeks to capture distinction between them in some of the pieces he created in the past few months.
Some of his paintings capture a grizzly bear walking out of water after catching a fish, one is of a lioness fearlessly with two cubs, and the other is of a stretching leopard. He related to seeing an animal stretching like he does in the morning. “We are just like a leopard, remembering to stretch, promoting its flexibility and move fluidly,” he said. He believes animals are gifted with an extension of the senses which we can access too, sometimes after losing that or never having attained it. The animals “are the bridge between us and the beauty of all that is natural, connecting us back to ourselves.”
Lennox is selling these works. It is a challenge since a lot of people have been keen on buying essentials in the last couple of months. Art, which has been considered a luxury item more than a necessity by many people in Kenya, has evidently decreased in sales during this pandemic. The focus of many people has not been buying paintings. What he can do now is showing people what he can do while hoping that those who are able and willing to invest in art can get to know about his work.
Lennox began painting when he was nine years old and he was then guided professionally by two artists, his father and uncle. Painting portraits, on shops and hanging boards became the first skills.
Early this year, the fine artist from Malindi, was to supply his work to a lady in the United Kingdom to sell them. He saw that as an opportunity for his art to make its way into the market, one that is more established. As he was rooted in this idea which he put on hold right after the pandemic hit, the other thought of opening an art gallery rang in his mind. Hotels and restaurants had wanted artworks. Tourists were travelling back with pieces of art. Lennox wanted to grow this culture of investing in art. He plans to display art pieces of other artists in his region, and to make his name synonymous with preservation of and selling of art. This is after an unfortunate incident he recalls when he sold a painting at a cheap price only for the client to sell it to someone else for large amounts of money.
“I have grown to understand the value of art. I am careful to put a worthy price on my work. I want to do the same for others,” he said.