Onyis Martin was born in Kisumu, Kenya in 1987 and moved to Nairobi when he was six. Growing up, aside from school he kept himself out of trouble by playing football and doing art. When he graduated from high school, he rejected his father’s wish that he go to university and instead launched full time into fine art, which he initially developed through apprenticeships at the Godown Arts Centre and Kuona Trust in Nairobi. He is now based out of the Kobo Trust, where along with other artists, he mentors and facilitates aspiring artists with opportunities to develop their talent.
Experimenting with a wide range of materials, Martin explores the human condition and the global geo-political interface, specifically through issues surrounding human trafficking, migration, corruption and displacement. Additionally, he explores matters surrounding communication, the rapidly changing technological environment and the consumerism that surrounds it. Using his personal experience as a point of departure, he interweaves individual and collective experiences highlighting the varying yet similar experiences people have in different places globally. In his most recent group of works, Talking Walls (2016), Martin extended his exploration of how information depends on and is influenced by freedom and social structure towards investigating the rise of consumerism.