Emily Ondongo

A fine art graduate of the Buruburu Institute of Fine Art College Nairobi, Emily’s paintings operate in the tensions between stillness and movement, solidity and transience, colors, light and textures.

Her paintings are lyrical and abstract; creating a sense of nature in which a human emotional presence is strongly felt. Typically made in acrylics, layered and enriched over time but still maintaining a freshness and continues to develop her work very much in the modernist tradition. Her body of work diverges between vibrant ‘sketches’ and large-scale abstract paintings. Widely collected internationally, both privately and by corporations, Emily’s art has been exhibited across Kenya and continues to take on commissions for collectors.


From childhood Emily painted and drew.  She states: ‘my paintings are my distilled response to emotional experience. I paint instinctively, but aim to make paintings which resolve an unfiltered visceral impact with a certain degree of cohesive refinement.’ Emily’s inspiration comes from everyday experiences, from emotions, people, to nature. She also experiments with graphical elements in her paintings, fusing color and line work to create a composition.  

She works on individual as well as multiple canvases and use color as the basis for artistic expression, as well as a lot of line work to define her compositions. In most cases she reduces real objects to basic patterns such as triangles, square and rectangle using line and color to reveal characters of object and people, the same way other artists do give true feel of what they are depicting, the difference in hers is in the amount of detail which is definitely less. 


I am a professional graphic designer. 
For about a decade I worked primarily in Construction and Interior Design Industry as a graphic designer and art consultant. I have always wanted to do different things since I left college. I guess when you discover you have other talents you take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.  
Over the years I have taught myself a decent number of things as well as utilizing my skills for a large chunk of my creative work. Basic skills and technical knowledge have been responsible for so many opportunities in my career, ones that maybe weren’t immediately rewarding but ultimately developed into bigger, longer lasting and more exciting things.