A collection of African animal-themed drawings by Kamante Gatura was acquired by Kohler Foundation in 2009. From Kenya, Kamante was the “house-boy” remembered in Isak Dinesen’s book, Out of Africa. This true tale of Karen Blixen’s life on an African coffee plantation, tells how Kamante entered Karen Blixen’s life as a young boy when he was crippled by a severely infected leg. She arranged medical treatment and Kamante eventually became her cook and close friend. He drew upon the prey and predator relationships of the animals around him, along with the fables he heard at the Karen Coffee Farm School, to create a most unique body of work.
The collection includes 405 drawings. Approximately 100 works were severely water damaged in a fire and were expertly conserved and restored by PARMA Conservators from Chicago, Illinois.
They have been exhibited at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center where they now reside.