Born 1972 Kenya
Lives and works in Nairobi
Michael W. Soi (1972) is a Kenyan artist who has been working in Nairobi since 1995 after completion of his fine art and art history studies.
Soi is inspired by contemporary life in Nairobi. His work provides a photographic diary of Nairobi and is a satirical commentary of social, economic and political trends. His work explores relationships – intergenerational, interracial or generally what he calls the economics of love, commercial sex work and popular culture within the context of globalization & consumerism.
A hallmark of his art is his unique vision and highly distinctive style usually brightly-coloured paintings with black outlines that are illustrative in nature and are both playful and biting. They are informed by a strong tradition of cartoonists whose works have satirized Kenyan society since independence – often bravely poking fun at the political establishment.
“I want to create work that highlights women’s issues in Africa, particularly issues that relate to how men view women here and how they treat them. It isn’t an interesting topic for a lot of people who view my work due to the fact that people here would rather not talk about this. They would rather bury their heads in the sand and pretend that these things do not happen. This work highlights the role that has been assigned to women as implements of joy, pleasure and a means to an end to be enjoyed by men. This is a subject that I have had an interest in for a while now and the aim is to influence how men view and relate to women.”