It is fascinating that an artist, who was living in a shelter in Johannesburg as little as 10 years ago, has become such an international success. Wakaba Mutheki has been dubbed “The African Van Gogh” by the media and has developed a strong and loyal following of collectors both locally and abroad.
With no formal art training, Wakaba Mutheki is creating a major stir amongst South African and International art collectors alike. Wakaba Mutheki boasts sell out shows in New York and Philadelphia and has traveled and exhibited extensively both locally and abroad.
Wakaba Mutheki was invited to exhibit at the United Nations in Geneva and was commissioned by SAB to produce a painting that captures the essence of their premium label, Pilsner Urquell. This painting was unveiled at a gala event at the Kizo Art Gallery in Umhlanga on the 19th of October 2006.
Wakaba Mutheki travelled throughout the world, Dubai, U.S.A, France, throughout Africa (19 countries) and made it his passion to study and learn from other cultures. Wakaba Mutheki is an extremely versatile artist and works in various mediums including oil and acrylic.
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Wakaba was one of 39 top artists from around the world that were chosen to take part in the recent collaboration between them and Mr Nelson Mandela.
In 2005, Wakaba Mutheki was commissioned by Moreland, IFA and The Department of Transport to paint a triptych to celebrate the opening of the M4 on the Natal North Coast. One piece went to Moreland, one to The Department of Transport and one to IFA.
In the same year, 2 of Wakaba’s paintings were auctioned off at a celebrity studded charity event in Los Angeles during 2005 with all proceeds going to benefit children with HIV Aids.
Wakaba Mutheki was invited to exhibit at the Zorgvliet, Le Chamonix and Boschendal wine estates in Cape Town in November and December 2005. One of his paintings was auctioned off at the Le Chamonix exhibition with all proceeds going to benefit a local charity.
In September 2006 at the United Nations in Geneva, selected by Ernst and Young as their preferred artist for a function in Durban in September, collaborated with 20 top South African and 46 respected Indian artists to exhibit in India in September (exhibition inaugurated by the President of India), and then in Durban in October as part of the official Satyagraha Celebrations.
He had coverage in numerous TV, Radio and print media including Reuters interview for international distribution, full page Mail and Guardian review and mention in the Business Day article as one of the African artists to invest money in.
Wakaba played a central role in terms of The Heritage Arts Festival, the premier arts festival in KwaZulu Natal in September 2007. He painted a painting to honour Chief Albert Luthuli.
Wakaba Mutheki completed a portrait of Chief Albert Luthuli in 2008 that was purchased by The Chief Albert Luthuli Museum. Wakaba was then commissioned to paint a portrait in honour of John Langalibalele Dube.