Onyis Martin is a young painter and mixed media artist living and working in Nairobi whose practice is rapidly gaining national and international recognition. Recently, in 2016, he won a merit award at the Barclay’s L’atelier competition, for his mixed media installation: Does it matter who is speaking?
Deeply connected to contemporary urban society, Martin’s paintings, sculptures and works on paper explore, portray and reflect on current issues affecting not only the African continent but the world as a whole. Delving into global concerns such as human trafficking, migration, political and institutional corruption, repressive environments and displacement, Martin’s works also explore issues of freedom, communication, rapidly evolving technological information and consumerism.Martin’s approach to and investigation of the themes central to his practice is a complex and articulated process, often using his private experience as a departure point. Interweaving individual with collective experiences of human displacement and migration, through his work he questions our understanding and engagement with human trafficking and its catastrophic consequences, reflecting on the often intimate, personal reasons why people migrate.