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A Kenyan Painter Casts a Critical Eye on China’s Role in Africa

Kenyan artist, Michael Soi, uses his brush to extract a bite out of the establishment. His recent series ‘China in Africa’ satirizes the “all too close” relationships between corrupt African and Chinese officials, which he sees as destabilizing rather than encouraging development in Africa. The bright acrylic paintings on canvas have proven popular and polarizing and have offered a creative and complex approach to China-Africa relations. But on Jan. 2, after six years and 100 pieces, Mr. Soi said he was finished with the series, having drawn enough attention to the issue. Mr. Soi said he drew inspiration for the pieces from reading books, watching local and international TV programs and speaking with engineers who worked with the Chinese in Kenya.