Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, 1921
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, 1996
CECIL KENNETH BAKER grew up amongst a predominantly working class suburb in Claremont, yet was forced to relocate with his family to the infamous District Six under the Group Areas Act of the 1960s. From landscapes, city scenes figures and still lifes, Baker’s paintings reflect the everyday life and discourse of those living within the Cape Flats, District Six and Bo-Kaap during the time. Described as being both impressionist and expressionist in style, his work also shows a correlation to his early employment as a sign-writer in the Cape docks; a setting which acts as inspiration for much of his early work.
Although Baker had few years of formal schooling, his father encouraged him to become a painter. Gregoire Bonzaier also acted as an influential mentor, and later tutored him in impressionist colour theory. However, under the descrimatory laws of Apartheid, Baker struggled to support his family as an artist. He often sold his paintings for far less then they were worth in order to make a sale, yet he was consoled by the idea that his work was more accessible to the general public as a result.
As an associate of the Vakalezi group he exhibited at the Rodin Gallery in Long Street, Cape Town, as well as Gallery 709, The Oasis Gallery and The Association of Arts in Bellville. He also participated in numerous group exhibitions and held thirteen solo shows.