Meek Gichugu was born in Ngecha, on the outskirts of Nairobi, in 1969.
Ngecha became popular and fashionable as the ‘Village of Painters’ when the Ngecha Artists’ Association was established in the early 1990s by a number of young, wild artists – Sane Wadu, Wanju Brush and Chain Muhandi.
Inspired by that creative atmosphere, Meek Gichugu started his artistic journey in the early 1990s. In 1991, he was given a solo exhibition at Nairobi’s prestigious Gallery Watatu, selling most of the almost 90 pieces in a sensational show. From that breakthrough at 22 years old, Meek was catapulted into the kind of success few older artists could dream of.
The subjects of Gichugu’s unsettling work inhabit a world where the familiar jockeys for space with the sinister, resulting in extraordinary surrealistic assemblies: exotic fruits, strange animals parading across the canvas, distorted human figures, hidden and open sexual symbols.
In 1999, however, he settled in Paris with his partner, a French photographer and painter, and their daughter. After one decade, his African career came to an abrupt end and little is known about his artistic creativity in his new European environment. His Kenyan work – distinctly recognisable – changed little with maturity: worked in oil on canvas, Gichugu’s colours are restrained mustard and ochre earth tones, later featuring more confident blues and reds as occasional highlights.
Suck me from Behind | Oil on Canvas | 91cm x 68cm - 1998
Everything | Oil on Canvas | 97cm x 78cm - 1998 -
Nation's Fruit | Oil on Canvas | 74cm x 101cm - 1998 -
Funy Smell | Oil on Canvas | 23cm x 38cm - 1998 -