Stanislaus Shake Makelele was born in Kenya in 1966. After studying at Kamwenja Teachers College (1989) and the Creative Art Center in Nairobi (1991-1994), he struck out on his own and became a freelance painter. In recent years, he has emerged as an artist of great imagination and flair, with a superbly balanced use of color. His work is considered to be brash and colorful, while possessing unique harmony. He paints mainly in oil but also uses watercolors and pastels.
Makelele’s style is independent and fresh, unencumbered by academic constraints. He takes abstract, semi-abstract and realism all in stride. He prefers painting people’s social life and activities. He feels one has to take inspiration from the heart to paint well. In Makelele’s words: “Art is a way of life and in this sense, it keeps changing in order to be enjoyable. So I don’t stick to one theme or color because they also have to change.”
Because Makelele creates images of the Maasai in original ways, his name is mentioned internationally. He has had exhibitions in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rome, Milan, London and Edinburgh. He was one of the select Kenyan artists at a festival on Scottish and African culture, where the special guest was Nelson Mandela.
Makelele says “Art has no boundaries, as anyone can be interested in it. It makes people unite no matter where they are from – ministers, ambassadors, professors, teachers – they all come together if they appreciate art and will always get something to talk about.” Makelele is proud to point out the meaning of his name: too much noise.
(Excerpts from January 21, 2002 article in The Weekly Advertiser)