Pendergast’s oils inspired by living in Kenya

J GO Gallery’s “From Africa” exhibit will raise funds for the Queen of Peace Junior School located in Mbale, Uganda. The exhibit, which shows through Aug. 31, consists of 13 oil paintings by Kenya-based artist Olivia Mae Pendergast, according to gallery owner Jude Grenney.

Grenney, who ran the Phoenix Gallery at that time, worked with Pendergast for another fundraiser for African students.

“She saw the need for education over there, and so it was her idea to collect books from people who came to see her show,” Grenney said. “So, I thought it would be nice for J GO Gallery to do something similar.”

The exhibit is a reunion of sorts for Grenney and Pendergast, who kept in touch after the artist moved to Africa five years ago. “I had started to feel a pull to go to Malawi to paint,” Pendergast said. “I don’t know why. I never had any connection to Africa, but I wanted to go there all of sudden.” For a while, Pendergast would split her time between Malawi and Seattle, until her daughter turned 2. “That was five years ago,” she said. “I took her to Kenya and decided to make the city my primary residence.” Pendergast found the local population open and kind. “It was easy to find people who were willing to model for me,” she said. “It was interesting. I would paint skin tones that were different from anything I painted before, but at the same time, everything seemed very familiar to me.” Pendergast’s oils are based on photographs she takes of her subjects, and that comes with unique challenges.

From Park Record – Entertainment – 8/20/2021
by Scott Iwasaki