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Kamante Gatura

About the Artist

Kamante Gatura  (photo by Peter Beard)
Kamante Gatura (photo by Peter Beard)
Kamante Gatura as a boy, c. 1920.
Kamante Gatura as a boy, c. 1920.

Kamante Gatura (1912-1985) was a Kenyan national of the Kikuyu tribespeople.  As a young boy his family exchanged work for wages and the right to live on the undeveloped farmland of Karen Blixen, better known by her pen name Isak Dinesen the author of  the memoir Out of Africa.  Mr. Gatura became Blixen’s cook and good friend and is featured in the memoir.

He was also a self-taught artist who captured life in Africa with crayon and colored pencils.  Along with Dinesen and the photographer Peter Beard he wrote a book called Longing For Darkness: Kamante’s Tales from Out of Africa which contains stories of his life with Dineson as well as folk tales of his people.

(Biography courtesy of The Freeman Project)

A collection of African animal-themed drawings by Kamante Gatura was acquired by Kohler Foundation in 2009. From Kenya, Kamante was the “house-boy” remembered in Isak Dinesen’s book, Out of Africa. This true tale of Karen Blixen’s life on an African coffee plantation, tells how Kamante entered Karen Blixen’s life as a young boy when he was crippled by a severely infected leg. She arranged medical treatment and Kamante eventually became her cook and close friend. He drew upon the prey and predator relationships of the animals around him, along with the fables he heard at the Karen Coffee Farm School, to create a most unique body of work.

(Courtesy of the Kohler Foundation)

Region:
Lions Attacking Gazelles
SKU: KGA-0801

n.d. (late 20th century)
Ink and colored pencil on paper (15" h x 20"w)

Price on Request
Three Men Cooking
SKU: KGA-1104

n.d. (late 20th century)
Ink and colored pencil on paper (15" h x 20"w)

Price on Request
Battle of Rhinos and Elephants
SKU: KGA-0803

n.d. (late 20th century)
Ink, crayon and colored pencil on paper (15" h. x 20" w.).

Price on Request
Elephant Chasing Hippo
SKU: KGA-1103

n.d. (late 20th century)
Ink, crayon and colored pencil on paper (15" h. x 20" w.).

Price on Request
A Lucky Shot
SKU: KGA-0804

n.d. (late 20th century)
Ink, crayon and colored pencil on paper (15" h. x 20" w.).

Price on Request
Lions and Rhinos at Battle
SKU: KGA-0802

n.d. (late 20th century)
Ink and colored pencil on paper (15" h x 20"w)

Price on Request
Product Status: 
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