Joseph Bertiers’s work is concerned with social, political and economic issues in Kenya and abroad. His detailed paintings and life-sized sculptures are characterised by a sharp wit and humour. As a teenager, Bertiers painted signs for shops and bars, which led him to pursue a career in art.
For example, the piece ‘Yesterday afternoon’ depicts a busy market scene after the announcement of the failure of the biometric BVR vote-tallying system at the recent Kenyan elections in March 2013. The IEBC announced they would be counting the votes by hand, which caused panic-buying by Kenyans anxious to get home. In the ensuing rush, traders got top prices for their wares.
The artist’s career took off in 2006, when he was selected to participate in Dak’Art. In 2011, Bertiers had a solo show at Fred Gallery, with his work travelling, in turn, to the 2011 Basel Art Fair and the 2012 Johannesburg Art Fair.