Mr Elkana Ong'esa
Elkana Ong'esa was born in November 1944 to the artisan community of Kisii in western Kenya as the first child of a family of six sons and four daughters. His grandfather and both of his parents were recognised traditional crafts persons.
Elkana Ong'esa studied Fine Arts at Makerere University in Uganda, and the University of Nairobi in Kenya, where he completed his postgraduate thesis on stone carving in East Africa. Ong'esa also attended the McGill University in Canada in 1985, where he obtained an M.Ed. in Teaching of Art.
In 1987 he travelled to Arctic Canada and worked with Eskimo green stone carvers. From 1975 to 1989, he served as Senior Lecturer and Head of Creative Arts at Kisii Teachers College in western Kenya. From 2001 to 2003 he was Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton. In 2007, he was Artist-in-Residence, lecturing on Arts in Kenya at Hofstra University, New York, and other institutions in New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Dallas. In 2009, he was elected first President of the newly formed Pan-African Association of Visual Arts (PAVA). In 2011 Artist-in-Residence, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
2010 'WILL' Exhibition in Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, Hong Kong 2007 Travelling exhibitions in New York, Dallas, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, USA 2006 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa 2005 Opera House, Cairo, Egypt, sponsored by Kenya Department of Culture & Afro-Arab Cultural Institute 1994/96/97 Tokyo, Japan, sponsored by JICA and JETRO 1990 New Zealand during the 1990 Commonwealth Games 1979 Svea Galleriet, Stockholm, Sweden 1987 Montreal & Toronto, Canada, soapstone sculpture exhibition
2004 'Head of State Commendation' (HSC) for exemplary contributions to art, culture and community socio-economic development initiatives 1995 Kenyatta University: Distinguished Services Award 1971 Makerere University: Award for Sculpture 1968 Makerere University: Award for Painting
MAJOR ART PIECES
2010 Dancing Birds, 2.5 x 2.5 x 2m, red granite, for US Embassy, Nairobi, kenya 2008 Bird of Peace Emerging from Stone of Despair, granite, Murumbi Peace Memorial, City Park, Nairobi, kenya 2006 Her Mother, 3 x 3 x 2.5m, bronze, World Sculpture Park, Chang Chun City, Jilin Province, P.R.China 2004 Blessings III, soapstone, Rosenberg Museum, Hofstra University, New York, USA 1996 Dancing Around a Cola Bottle, soapstone, Coca-Cola Olympics Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 1984 In Search of Water, Caltex Oil offices in Irving Texas, USA 1978 Enyamuchera (Bird of Peace), 1.6m. ht. (7-ton) soaptsone, UNESCO, Paris, France
Ong'esa has mobilized resources for various community socio-economic development initiatives:
- rural community water and electricity supply
- building schools and churches
- medical insurance cover for artisans and their families
- educational support for needy children
- export marketing of Kisii soapstone commercial handicrafts for rural artisans
- offering apprenticeship to budding art students in rural areas
- assisting rural women and youth groups in income generating activities