12 of Nairobi's Top Art Galleries

Enjoying the beauty of African Art at one of the Art Space Gallery pop-ups in Nairobi
Enjoying the beauty of African Art at one of the Art Space Gallery pop-ups in Nairobi | © The Art Space Gallery
Photo of Nandika Macharia
11 June 2018

Art has been part of the Nairobi scene since colonial times, and even now there are many remnants of artefacts that came from the settlers in some of our art museums. Here are the top 12 galleries in Nairobi that you should visit for contemporary and traditional art when you’re in the city.

Polka Dot Gallery

Art Gallery
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Polka Dot gallery art
Polka Dot Gallery Art | © Polka Dot Art Gallery

This addition to the art scene entered the fray in 2016 and has become a great space for contemporary artists, both locally and internationally. The space strives not just to be another exhibition place where art is hung, but also a place where educational and inspiring conversations start because of the pieces on display there. You can apply to exhibit photography, sculpture, painting, or any form of art.

Banana Hill Art Gallery

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Art exhibited at Banana Hill Art Gallery
Art exhibited at Banana Hill Art Gallery | © Banana Hill Art Gallery
Banana Hill Art gallery is one of the most respected art galleries in the city and in the country at large. They offer sculptures and paintings from both upcoming and established artists. The space strives to bring artists and clients together, ensuring that talented artists have a place to showcase their talent and benefit from it.

The GoDown Arts Center

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The GoDown Arts Center has been a working space for some of Kenya’s most respected artists, like Peterson Kamwathi. They hold exhibitions ranging from photographic exhibitions to paintings and sculptures. The space is well known for the Kenya Burning photographic exhibition that showed the world the extent of violence experienced by the country following the contested 2007 presidential elections.

Upepo Photography Gallery

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Photographs on exhibition at Upepo Photography Gallery
Photographs on exhibition at Upepo Photography Gallery | © Upepo Photography Gallery
Photography is taking off in Kenya, and having a gallery to exhibit photographic art has opened up the field immensely. The gallery features original photographs as art, each with a limited edition of 50 prints. The photographs are developed in Kenya and the frames are made locally by handpicked craftspeople.

Circle Art Agency

Art Gallery
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Circle art
Circle Art Agency pieces on exhibition | © Circle Art Agency
Circle Art Agency is the home of contemporary art in East and Central Africa. East African art is breaking through into the global art scene, and the name Circle Art has become synonymous with this process. The art curated and exhibited by the gallery is mostly thought-provoking and demanding.

The Little Gallery

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This gallery is at the forefront of revolutionizing the local understanding and appreciation of art. It offers an online forum where artists can get exposure for their work. It aims to bring art to ordinary Kenyans, resulting in consumption of local art by local enthusiasts, but international buyers also get a chance to acquire the pieces. They deal with installations, paintings, and sculptures.

One Off Contemporary Art Gallery

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One Off Art Gallery contemporary art pieces
One Off Art Gallery contemporary art pieces | © One Off Contemporary Art Gallery
This gallery is home to some of the most respected homegrown contemporary artists in Kenya and around East Africa. It is a creative space that never lacks inspiration for both artists and audiences. Their displays are made up of sophisticated artwork that appeals to discerning art lovers and collectors.

The Art Space Gallery

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Art work exhibited by the Art Space Gallery
Art work exhibited by the Art Space Gallery | © The Art Space Gallery

This gallery takes art to the most unexpected spaces as well as the regular exhibition spaces. After starting out as a regular gallery in a bricks-and-mortar building, they have evolved into using the online space to bring Kenyan art to the world. They offer rare pieces through their Collectors’ Den and sell other pieces via the Vault.