Joel Lukhovi (b.1989) is a Kenyan based visual artist working primarily with lens-based media. In his contact with photography he has since ventured successfully into multiple forms of the art. Due to his strong artistic bent, he studied and eventually earned a (BA) major in literature at the University of Nairobi.

His practice revolves predominantly on photography and literature with a gradual embrace of emerging and mixed media. He has since incorporated a contextual approach in his creations. His ideal work imagines at transitions and parallels of society and meanings of the ever-changing spaces.

Presently he is a fellow at the Sasa Nairobi Art Fellowship 2024/25 facilitated by Goethe Institut – Kenya. His work questions diverse happenings, which he is experimenting with pinhole and film photography as alternative means of photo making in the contemporary world. This comes to address formations and deconstructions as to what makes an image derive its true meaning. The use of pinholes and film brings to light a set of materials; paper and chemicals that give photographs purpose to exist. His work has now taken a form of social commentary, covering patterns of everyday life. Often a time, they are references of self-discovery or rather imagined experiments.

Of the several art residencies and workshops conducted in Nairobi and beyond, a growing aspect of his practice is the ability to curate interventions that promote exchanges across traditional and modern platforms. His use of shapes, objects and patterns become visual elements that define his work. His exhibition at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) explored the politics of food, the ways food has, and continues to form, and give shape to multiple, contradictory, sensorial experiences of and insights into urban living.

To this effect he is working on a duo project dubbed African Cityzens, a trans continental photography journey that explores trans city movement and spatial exchanges through photography. The emphasis of the collective journey allows the artist to engage and create works that often reflect their individual approach in new spaces. The in movement project has moved across eastern and southern Africa regions with a special presentation at the 2017 Lagos Photo Festival.

Joel employs a lot of emphasis on the importance of technique, process and presentation of his work. In his recent exhibition; image & exploration showcased family archival work that informed on the life and journey of photo albums with a personal feel. It explored the purpose and role of photographs in an African family setting. Besides, it aimed at formulating alternative ways through which photographic material might be approached. Presently, the artist is making a new body of works around isolation and purpose of space. This, he is collaborating with Nairobi Beyond, festival of African photography.

Lukhovi’s work has been exhibited and collected widely and included in several publications in Kenya and abroad. He has collaborated with artists, educators, attended residencies and workshops extensively in Africa as well as being a global recipient of the Intercultural Encounters, organized by the ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation – Republic of Austria.

Part of his works Own Form organized by featured as a solo exhibition at the multicultural centre in Stockholm – Sweden. The photographic works remain a permanent collection of the organization. As a photographic artist, Joel continues to be in a unique position to respond, visualize and interpret the world around him artfully grappling with social, cultural, political and personal topics.

©lukhovi + projects