Olivia Pendergast

Olivia Pendergast produces expressionistic biographical oil paintings of African villagers.
Olivia's portraits possess a gentle tactility and aura; Olivia doesn’t simply paint what she sees but what she feels about her subjects.
This world-traveller's critically acclaimed paintings have been enjoyed worldwide.

Olivia Pendergast’s expressionistic portraits of African villagers have a tactility to be reckoned with. Olivia produces biographical oil paintings about the lives of African villagers, not to scrutinise or ‘Other’ the residents, but to reveal their gentleness, vitality and raw joy.

Education and fleeing the nest

Olivia was raised on a small, organic farm in North Carolina. From a very early age, Olivia began to train her artistic eye. The artist studied Columbus College of Art and Design’s five-year BFA program where she majored in Illustration but pursued Fine Art in any and every spare moment she had. After a 5-year stint working in the LA film industry as a conceptual designer, she began to fully immerse herself in her passion for painting. Before long, she began to travel the world, heading to Malawi - ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’, Haiti and Bangladesh, until she eventually settled in Kenya where she now resides.

Olivia’s Style and Approach

Olivia’s portraits and landscapes are an abstract tapestry of rustic, Byzantine colour-palettes and robust yet indefinite Klimt-like forms. Her paintings are nearly always large as a reflection of the immensity and power of the African continent and are respectful of the unique humanity in each and everyone of her subjects; Olivia is interested in the idea of individual auras, and through her work aims to evoke the deep and personal emotions of her subject’s characters. This can be seen as a shimmering lightness surrounding the figure in Maasai or as twirling, floral vines in Nude Profile on White. Olivia doesn’t simply paint what she sees but what she feels about her subjects.

Exhibitions and Critical Acclaim

Olivia’s paintings have been enjoyed worldwide from the States to Dubai and all across Africa. She currently has permanent collections in Salt Lake City and Kenya, with recent temporary shows taking place at the Serenade Gallery, Ethiopia, and the Thomas Gilcrease Museum, Oklahoma. Her works have been complimented in various American publications for their ineffable beauty and intrigue.

Selected Works

Woman in Kangemi Slum by Olivia Pendergast

Woman in Kangemi Slum

Paintings - 95x61 cm
Nude Profile on White by Olivia Pendergast

Nude Profile on White

Paintings - 76x92 cm
Man with Cigarette - Kibera by Olivia Pendergast

Man with Cigarette - Kibera

Paintings - 122x92 cm
Boy on Barrel - Kangemi by Olivia Pendergast

Boy on Barrel - Kangemi

Paintings - 122x92 cm
Maasai by Olivia Pendergast


Paintings - 122x92 cm
Mother and Child by Olivia Pendergast

Mother and Child

Paintings - 92x61 cm
Blanc - Haiti by Olivia Pendergast

Blanc - Haiti

Paintings - 122x92 cm
Lucy in Profile by Olivia Pendergast

Lucy in Profile

Paintings - 51x41 cm
Village Woman with Baby by Olivia Pendergast

Village Woman with Baby

Paintings - 95x61 cm

Not what you were looking for?

Find the perfect artwork using our filters or talk with one of our advisors to help you discover it.

Other artists in the same medium

Regional Settings

United States
Metric (cm, kg)