“Risk management techniques are increasingly becoming a means to govern mobility. In particular, the extent to which the bio-metric border is extending into multiple realms, not only of social life but also of the body, the body that’s not mine.” -The Idea of a Borderless
World, Achille Mbembe.
Onyis Martin was born in Kisumu, Kenya in 1987 and moved to Nairobi when he was six. Growing up, aside from school he kept himself out of trouble by playing football and doing art. When he graduated from high school, he rejected his father’s wish that he go to University and instead launched full time into fine art, which he initially developed through apprenticeships at the Godown Arts Centre and Kuona Trust in Nairobi. He is now based out of the Kobo Trust, where along with other artists, he mentors and facilitates aspiring artists with opportunities to develop their talent. Experimenting with a wide range of materials, Martin explores the human condition
and the global geopolitical interface, specifically through issues surrounding human trafficking, migration, corruption, and displacement. Additionally, he explores matters surrounding communication, the rapidly changing technological environment, and the consumerism that surrounds it. Using his personal experience as a point of departure, he interweaves individual and collective experiences highlighting the varying yet similar experiences people have in different places globally. In his most recent group of works, Talking Walls (2016), Martin extended his exploration of how information depends on and is influenced by freedom and social structure towards investigating the rise of consumerism. 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.