African Art and Oil Paintings
Mubiru's works of traditional and contemporary African art are influenced by his childhood. He was a born in a
post colonial Africa plagued with power struggles. After completing his education at the Kenya Polytechnic
he migrated to the United States. His time away from his homeland has had the effect of making him concentrate more on his
"Africa is in transition" he says. "That is why I'm so fascinated by cultures that have stuck to our old ways of life.
When I look at the Massai, Karamajongo and other nomadic tribes, I feel a link to our simple way of life that is no
John Mubiru’s striking tribal motifs and scenery evoke the essence of Black African art culture and life... vibrant, colorful and alive. His use of a palette knife, blunt paint brush and thick oil application technique gives his work almost a three dimensional feel.
Mubiru has not always worked in oils. Like most East African artists he started out working in Batik when he lived in Nairobi, Kenya. This process utilizes dyes applied to cloth mostly cotton or silk using wax as a blocker. "I use wax as a blocker” he says “The paint doesn't go where the wax is. I start from light to dark dyes. I will apply lets say yellow then block the parts that I want to stay yellow with wax, then apply blue to get greens and so on." Mubiru learned this technique from exiled Ugandan artists while he was living in Kenya. By default, batik has always been an experimental art form and for a creative mind like Mubiru's, the sky is the limit. He took it to the next level, with muted earth tones for instance. One of the techniques he developed is particularly affective in a series of works inspired by ancient Art and rock paintings. The work took on a jagged series of lines, similar to cracks on a rock face.