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Kay Gasei – Unraveling the Interplay of Symbols, Myths, and Contemporary Life

Born in 1991, British-Zambian artist Kay Gasei’s world is characterised by symbols and myths.

In the latest edition of the Djembe Series, he reveals he first “drew something properly” at the age of three. An angel with wings and muscles, following a dream in which he saw himself going to heaven. “I grew up in church, angels and people with wings seemed cool,” he says. In year four, attended a gifted and talented program and later, was sent to a private art school but didn’t like it because he was the youngest pupil. “Mum, there are just old people here. I don’t like it,” he recalls. Highly influenced by movement, the London native entertained the idea of becoming an animator or ninja as a child and even completed ninja training.

Today, with two promising years to his credit, he is represented by London’s most elite galleries. It comes as no real surprise that Gasei’s paintings, influenced by both the surreal and realist movements, celebrate the human body in all its beautiful and gruesome forms. Mythology is also a running thread throughout his work., coming to the fore as modern lore mirroring his own life, struggles and the crises shaping the world in which we live. “He has a natural inclination to using small details in his work, which when found create a feeling of intimacy with the audience. Mystery and a haunting feeling are what he tries to ignite in the audience when looking at sections of his pieces as they try to gauge how each element relates with another to gradually coalesce the narrative in the viewers mind,” the Cicek Gallery says of his work.

His most recent WDWGFH (We Do We Go From Here?) series conjures images of a chaotic Western world “on fire… without saying it… or being preachy. “Power to the People features black men on horses — a result of his anger at the murder of George Floyd. “It was something more dialogue based derived from the anger and upset I was feeling. It was a time when everyone had heavy emotions about everything.”

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