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Baker (1921 - 1996)

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Kenneth Baker painting of District Six Cape Town

District Six, Cape Town

R19 800  /  R21 500

53.5 x 43cm

Kenneth Baker painting of three men with hats

Three Figures


53.5 x 29cm

Kenneth Baker painting | Robertson Art Gallery

The Dop Drinkers


33.5 x 51.5cm

Three Musicians | Robertson Art Gallery

Three Musicians


26 x 36.5cm

Kenneth Baker painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Malay Quarters, Bo-Kaap


28.5 x 48cm

Kenneth Baker painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Musicians in a District Six Shebeen


35 x 41cm

Kenneth Baker painting | Robertson Art Gallery

At the Pub


32 x 52cm

Kenneth Baker painting | Robertson Art Gallery

Malay Quarters


33 x 39cm

Kenneth Baker: A Self-Taught Artist Immersed in the Soul of District Six

Born in 1921 on Harfield Road in Claremont, Kenneth Baker's artistic journey began as a self-taught painter. Influenced by the style and subject matter of Gregoire Boonzaier, Baker honed his craft while working as a signwriter at the Cape Town docks, where he connected deeply with the lives of the fisherfolk.

The vibrant streets and diverse characters of District Six provided Baker with the perfect canvas to express the rich atmosphere and emotional depth he sought in his art. However, tragedy struck when his family was forcefully relocated from Claremont due to the Group Areas Act of the 1960s. Drawing from his own experiences and the profound impact of despair, desperation, and grief that defined life in District Six's fateful history, Baker skillfully conveyed these emotions in his compassionate paintings.

In his poignant artwork, Baker depicted groups of friends seeking solace and temporary comfort from their pain and struggles through the solace of alcohol. These portrayals not only revealed the underlying tragedy within his subjects but also reflected the personal struggles of the artist himself. In a profound convergence of art and life, Baker's experiences and subjects merged, creating an intensely empathetic body of work.

Outside of his art, Kenneth Baker was a devoted family man with four children, though it was his youngest child who shared his passion for painting, eager to dabble with the paintbrush just like his talented father.

Today, Kenneth Baker's artwork stands as a poignant tribute to the spirit of District Six and a testament to the enduring power of art to communicate the deepest human emotions. His paintings serve as a poignant reminder of the struggles and resilience of a community forever imprinted on the canvas of history.

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