onyis martin

onyis martin

Nairobi, Ngong Rd, Kenya

About onyis martin

Multi-award-winning artist, 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 geo-political 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.


2006 Aquinas High School, Nairobi/ Kenya
2010 Mukuru Art and Craft, Nairobi/ Kenya
2013 Neuro Linguistic Programming and Family Constellation


2017 The bag factory residency Johannesburg, South Africa
1st Merit award, Barclays L’aterlia competition

2016 Asiko Art School, workshop and residency Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Residency at The Factory (Nicholas Locsdale), Lamu, Kenya
5th Mediation biennale, Pozna, Poland
Ostrale, Error X, Germany

2015 Kuona Trust Artist in residence, Nairobi/ Kenya
2014 Anidan artist residency and art workshop, Lamu/ Kenya
2013 Art workshop at Mukuru Art and Craft, Nairobi/ Kenya
2012 Fire and water ceremony, Laikipia/ Kenya


2019 Before tomorrow comes, Eclectica contemporary, Capetown
Still here tomorrow to high five you yesterday, Zeitz Mocca museum

Nairobi Here we art, Out Of Africa gallery, Barcelona

2018 A better world through creativity group exhibition, Kerry Parker Civic
Gallery,Adelaide, South Australia.

Performances of memory Absa gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa


Be-com-ing Redhill Gallery, Nairobi/ Kenya
Talking walls Kerry Parker Civic Gallery, Adelaide, South Australia
Tomorrows/today Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town/ South Africa
Salon zurcher Zurcher Gallery, New york / USA
Proximity to power Circle Art Gllery, Nairobi, Kenya

Freedom / flight / refuge Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi/ Kenya
154 art fair Somerset House, London/England
In-conversations The Lab, Nairobi/ Kenya
Here and Here Asni gallery, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
What can art do Shift eye gallery, Nairobi, Kenya

Taiwan inter’ art fair Taipei, Taiwan

Graduation Talisman, Nairobi/ Kenya
3rd side of the coin Que-pasa, Nairobi/ Kenya

Utopia Art cabinet, Nairobi/ Kenya