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Don’t be fooled by the attractively colourful and slightly cartoonish signature style of Kenyan artist Michael Soi’s work, for there is a world of seriousness and heavy socio-political undertones in his illustrations.

Soi’s work illustrates visual portraits that serve as social commentary inspired by his observations of daily life in his hometown of Nairobi.

“My work mostly touches on issues related to the youth like fashion trends, music and life in general. I try to create an attitude of what you see might be what you get from it. I am involved in work that deletes, distorts and changes various images into what I want them to be, and am excited by the subtle play that erasure seems to create when executed in certain ways.

“My work is not about the suppression of images or distortion, or the negation of what the image represents, but is about obscuring the images in order to create a different relationship between the final piece and the viewer.

Most of my work is social commentary inspired by the city of Nairobi that addresses everything from this to what we would rather not talk about in public.”

- Michael Soi

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