Michael Soi


Michael Soi, Sweethearts for Hire, 2018. Acrylic on canvas, 47 x 93 inches. Copyright of the artist and courtesy Gallery 1957.


Michael Soi’s work provides a photographic diary of Nairobi and is a satirical commentary of social, economic and political trends. His work explores relationships – intergenerational, interracial or generally what he calls the ‘economics of love’. Commercial sex work and popular culture within the context of globalisation and consumerism are all themes that are presented in his illustrations. His work is informed by a strong tradition of cartoonists whose works have satirised Kenyan society since independence.

The value of satire is often seen to only entertain, however, it is a route to highlight sensitive social, political, religious and economic concerns. Acting as an alternate narrative, satirical work can broadcast the otherwise unmentionable.

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