Odorifous: Edward Orato



On my last night in Kenya last February the team was invited to the national director’s home to meet his family. It was quite an experience considering he and his wife currently have 19 children they’ve adopted (or merely taken in) living at home right now..

Just prior to the kids sending us off with a staircase seranade (imagine the Von Trapps were from east Africa) I happened to notice a painting hanging in the family dining room.

When I mentioned it to Pr. Martin he got so excited about it. He went on and on about how the little village represented in the painting was so “African”—that he loved it so much because it was exactly how he remembered the village where he grew up. He told me about his mother who still lives out there who gets entirely uncomfortable when she comes to visit them in the city..

What excited me was the fact that I’d just purchased a handful of paintings from this very same artist just the day before.

I met Edward Orato at the Maasai Market in Kisumu where I found he and a couple friends had the only table set up with original paintings. I could tell right away that we were kindred spirits. He manages to tell such amazing stories in such a simple way..

His works on the Maasai are especially engaging, such simple forms to represent such a storied tribe are irresistible.



I’ve been really happy to get to know Orato via Facebook over the past few months. If ever I can find a way to return to Kisumu I’m looking forward to meeting him once again.

Hope you enjoy his Odorifous interview. You can check out the entire series of interviews here, and if you like Orato’s work make sure you leave him a nice note on Facebook.

You can find Orato’s work at that Maasai Market and Curios Market in Kisumu, Kenya.

Tell us one of your favorite odors.

My favourite odor/smell? when it rains and tha smell of soil ,when the drops touches the dry soil

What is it about that particular smell?

Its’ a unique smell ,very natural and i am convinced its a kind of smell that hasnt’ changed for centuries…..

What experience makes you feel alive?

When some one appreciates my work piece and would like to find out more about it makes me feel like sharing my inner world. Actually exposing my inner world thru the eyes of a third party.

3 Faces

What fears do you have?

I fear or let me say hate negative comparison, coz everything happens for a reason why compare. Everyone is different

What have you learned about yourself over the past year?

Persistence realy pays eventually.. following my dreams and in the long run realising them…is my great joy. First making local connection …the ground level. In the world of art you work your way up—you dont skip steps.

Are you working on anything cool right now?

Am working on gigantic installation in Kisumu, about + fisher men, find it on face book please, its done! and i have embarked fully on paintings trying to find a new style in technique………

Do you find your creative work a spiritual experience? In what way?

yes i do find creative work a spiritual experience, in a sense that i some times tend to be inspired by natural things, that are in a sense a true manifestation of our creator…in that way i relate with the wonders and the unbelievable creation through my work of art.

What music or music artists have you been enjoying lately?

reggae, modern fusion and the oldies of reggae