When we think of Africa, pixelating images of war, famine and poverty have unfortunately become second nature to many of us here in America. Furthermore, this configuration is so stamped on our minds that we discount the possibility of other points of light. The poverty and war in Africa aren't the only arrangements needed to comprise an accurate picture of the continent."A lot of everyday living is positive, where relationships and family come first, no matter if you are rich or poor,” says Gathinja Yamokoski, owner of True African Art .com, an online gallery of original African art paintings for sale by 75 African artists.
"Evoking life and exploding with color, the artwork – mostly from Kenya – begets a reaction that corresponds more to unseen forces than any image we can construct in our physical world," explains Gathinja. “When people learn about the website's artists and their African artwork, the vast collection allows one to feel a connection and new opinion to the spirit of Africa.”
Further addressing the body part of the soul that helps give rise to the artwork, Gathinja describes the general feel of moving out and about in a nation like Kenya, her home country. "One must stop and make time," she says, “because if you’re late for the next event, it doesn’t matter. As long as you greet the people you know and take the time to connect with them, it's okay. Everyone is always late in Africa and so they are always on time, if that makes sense!”
A sentiment that Gathinja didn’t really notice about Kenya until she left was, “People live in the moment in my country. Here in the USA, things are much more future oriented and busy, which is a change I still wrestle with even today, though I do send out sold paintings on time!" Gathinja came to the USA in 2002 to marry her husband of ten years, whom she met back in 2000 while he was in Africa doing volunteer work with the Church.
Regardless of the cultural differences, though, a look at her African paintings sends people in search of what we many actually have in common. "People are naturally curious", says Gathinja, and they want to learn more about Africa and the artists."
True African Art .com, now in its third year online, has flourished. With the launch of a newly redesigned format from the ground up, and almost 5,000 fans on Facebook since April, 2011, things "are great and the site has bright future ahead of it." says Gathinja.
The website sells African art paintings from artists in Kenya, Tanzania, the Congo, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Ghana. "I know most of my African artists personally," says Gathinja, "and keep in touch with them on the phone or e-mail on a regular basis. I own most of their African paintings and have them for sale with me here in Westchester County, New York. I have shipped paintings not only to clients in the USA, but to patrons all over the world. The works I collect are not all airport art either. I've taken the time to collect both pieces that a tourist would enjoy for a low price, as well as paintings that a serious collector can keep and have grow in value...One other great thing about the website is that it provides unique information about most of its artists from Africa, including exclusive interviews, original biographies, photos of me with the artists and video interviews. Most of our African artworks are originals, not prints, and are just beautiful! To have the artworks sell here in America and around the world is a great feat for the artists and makes them feel proud of the works they made and sold to True African Art."
The website's slogan is "Loyal to Artists...Loyal to You." Gathinja elaborates by saying, "It means we keep our pricing fair to what we bought a piece for and maintain communication and business with most of our artists. It also means that we give the customer service to our clients that they expect and deserve. Shipping is free and clients are also able to make an offer on the price of a painting based on its list price. I think people really like these two favorable commodities."
Of course, any discussion of Africa and the inspirations that drive its artists must always make a correlation to the visible kaleidoscope coming from the landscape and wildlife. “Things are more colorful in real life,” Gathinja says of the African artist’s natural inclination to capture it.
"As an artist myself, this was a try it out project for me. I am so glad people have been receptive to True African Art .com. It's success means a world of difference to our artists from Africa because we can keep buying paintings from them. This gives them income, hope, and inspiration in the not so easy economy of Africa. I hope everyone reading this will take a look at the site and take some time to learn about Africa's rich and distinct culture through the site's actual paintings, information, pictures and videos."