HomeLIFEKikuyu poetry meets modern art in Sh1 million auction

Kikuyu poetry meets modern art in Sh1 million auction

Kenyan writer, poet and critic Alexander Nderitu is offering a unique take on art by mixing the brush with the pen.

The coagulation should produce a one off piece of art to be auctioned and that is accepting bids from a minimum of Ksh1 million.

DNA Art is the canvas upon which a new poem penned in vernacular will be transposed. The technique is a fairly new phenomena but it is gathering pace especially in interior design. It includes forming one’s DNA sequence as the background design, as Nderitu has. But it may also compose portraits developed from one’s finger or kiss prints. It’s all according to the one’s preference

The poem to feature on Mr. Nderitu’s DNA sequence is written in the Kikuyu language. It is titled, ‘Mathabu ma Carey Francis’ (‘The Mathematics of Carey Francis’). The title references British mathematician Francis, one of Kenya’s most important educationists in the history of the country.

Mathabu ma Carey Francis is also the name of Nderitu’s first compilation of poems in the Kikuyu language.

The debut poem is in the form of a message from a young man in gicagi (the village) to his better-educated girlfriend in Nairobi City.

Of the unique artistic piece that will be auctioned for over Ksh1 million, Mr. Nderitu has said the combination of the author’s DNA sequence together with the vernacular poem, “It’s the ultimate autograph.”


A novelist, poet and playwright, some of Mr. Nderitu’s work has been translated into Kiswahili, Chinese, Swedish, Arabic and Japanese. In 2014, his narrative poem ‘Someone in Africa Loves You’ represented Kenyan literature during the Commonwealth Games in Scotland. In 2017, Business Daily newspaper named him amongst Kenya’s ‘Top 40 Under 40 Men’.

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