Diverse Techniques of Storytelling in East African Art by Stephen Mbatia

  • Crystal A. Obare University of Nairobi
  • Joyce A. Akach University of Nairobi
Keywords: techniques, storytelling, East African art


Works of art often tell stories. Artists can present narrative in many ways—by using a series of images representing moments in a story, or by selecting a central moment to stand for the whole story. (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010) Objective: The main objective of this paper is to establish the ways in which techniques in creating art can aid in conveying the message of the artwork and the benefits of considering which techniques to use to convey messages and tell stories through artworks and designs. Design: The study used qualitative methods to obtain relevant data for the research and used the objective to guide the process. The collected data was analysed using content and visual analysis to determine how different techniques were used to convey different messages, themes and tones. Setting: The study was carried out in Nairobi, Kenya at the University of Nairobi. Subject: The subject of this paper is Stephen Mbatia—an accomplished painter, sculptor and draughtsman—and his works, inspirations and techniques. Results: the art is inspired by nature with paper patchwork and paints being the medium of visual communication. Apart from self-expression, Mbatia also aims at inspiring young people through art and design. Conclusion: This paper concludes that techniques and methods used to create artwork and designs can improve upon the message that the artist or designer wants to convey. Further study on the relationship between design and art techniques and messages conveyed in the artworks and designs is recommended.