Joseph Berties

For more than two decades, Joseph Bertiers of Kenya has created humorous yet sophisticated messages, political commentary paintings and sculptures about current events worldwide. He is self-taught. At the age of 18, he began his artistic career, painting signs for local bars, butchers and beauty parlors. Bertiers grew frustrated by the limitations for creative expression, which he depicted in a series of humorous paintings titled “Painting A Cat -- I Really Hate It”, self-portraits of the artist brushing paint on live cats, suggesting that only cat painting could be a worse job than sign painting.

Bertiers’ chance to change career directions came when American collector Ernie Wolfe saw Bertiers’ early work in a bar outside Nairobi. Bertiers was able to turn his artistic attention to the subjects he now paints with such humanity -- fools and dreamers, heroes and charlatans, domestic bliss and marital discord, personal foibles and national tragedies -- taking us all to task mostly with gentle humor, and always with the assurance that he shares the same problems with the rest of us. The rest is history. He is one of Kenya’s most sort after artists by curators, galleries and collectors. Both locally and abroad.

Bertiers is married and father of three children.

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