The end of the road

Yesterday evening, I went to the Dust Depot at the Railways Museum for what I hope will become a regular holiday party.

Patrick Mukabi has been based there for the last 9 months and this was an open house to introduce the space to the world. At least, it felt like that to Yours Truly.

If you’re familiar with his style, you’ll see a lot of it in the space alongside recent, experimental, work.

An artist who signs her work as Kezier – yes, her name is Keziah – was on hand as she too works in the space. Her charcoal art is what first drew me to her and it was great to see her and her new pieces some of which now feature chalk and acrylic.

The new artist of the night who really struck me is Clavers. He has an exhibition in February of 2016 and it is a thing to look forward to next year.

The space is open to those keen on painting away from their homes. The young children at the party who had taken advantage of this may grow up to be great artists and some of them are already pretty savvy marketers of their work.

Away from the art: I went to the Dust Depot with Laila, her friend, her friend’s son and we met up with Roo there. The child among us is as old as the space and it was a joy to walk about with him and see how intriguing it all was through his eyes. There was quite a community feel to it as we passed him around and it felt like going to a family Christmas party where you like a lot of the people.

To wrap this up, I’d like to say thank you to the lovely family which told Roo & I about the party. Thanks to you, a new arrival to the city (Laila’s friend) was able to start plugging into Nairobi’s art scene and we all had a fantastic time.

Check out the Dust Depot art space soon if you can. It’s quite something.

Note: This post is part of #CuminWrites366, my year-long attempt to write a post a day. Find the rest over at readability.com/cuminwrites/

Questions, comments, suggestions or been to the Dust Depot? Send them to cuminwrites@gmail.com

The man in the wall

Checking out Paul Onditi’s work (titled Helter-Skelter and showing till the 17th of January) at The Art Space is quite the experience.

(Before I go on, a small note on The Art Space: it’s in the same compound as Kwani?. Take the turn that would lead you to the University of Nairobi’s Chiromo Campus and it’s the first gate on your left.)

There is a man in a hat who is featured in each of the pieces exhibited. The paintings weave a tale of his life and some have an effect I can only call psychedelic.

Sometimes when I see art, I can be enraptured by a painting, a carving, a sculpture. This time, I really can’t name one that blew my mind; that’s how brilliant the entire set is. See it if you can.

(Another note on The Art Space: its loos are spacious, glorious places. You’ll find out how when you go there; if you haven’t been already.)

Note: This post is part of #CuminWrites366, my year-long attempt to write a post a day. Find the rest over at readability.com/cuminwrites/

Questions, comments, suggestions or thoughts on art? Send them to cuminwrites@gmail.com

An artistic take on crafts

There’s an exhibition going on at Alliance Francaise right now about Kenya’s crafts – Crafting Kenya, A photographic journey of Kenya’s Crafts by Wanja Laiboni and Anthony Bourrasseau.

Fun facts: in the Woodwork section, I found out the difference between Kamba and Coastal styles (Bajun and Bengal, if you’re curious) and how issues of policy have influenced the textile sector (hint:Mali Ya Abdullah features here). If you like baskets, lessos, craft of any sort, there’ll be interesting discoveries.

I am curious about whether the businesses profiled pitched for the honour (it’s not keeping me up at night) or if it was just a product of the project. The photos are beautifully shot and were quite an experience.

My highlight was bead work that is an elaborate bead and embroidery curtain featuring dancing girls, chatting lads, dogs, flowers and a fantastic universe that can hang in your residence.

It’s on for a while; check it out.

Note: This post is part of#CuminWrites366, my year-long attempt to write a post a day. Find the rest over at readability.com/cuminwrites/

Questions, comments, suggestions or exhibitions to check out? Send them to cuminwrites@gmail.com

Happy, the movie

Just watched a movie about being happy at PAWA254. Now listening to Eiji Han Shimizu who was part of the team that made the film (he does manga, too!).

It made me happy because I was with Trish ♥ & Nani & I ended up sitting next to an AIESEC friend.

Also, so many things resonated and it spoke to a part of me that’s been feeling like happiness was out of reach.

Cheat sheet: personal growth, close family and friends, & a sense of community. That’s it; that’s what you need for 40% of your happiness portion. Because 50% is down to genetics & 10% is all about exercise and being active.

Also, meditating on compassion and loving-kindness; which is something I struggle with. So, yes, mindfulness.

Watch it, if you can. It was really good.

I pulled out two drawers and my world shook

Wambui Kamiru’s ‘Your Name Betrays You’ closes on Sunday at Kuona Art Centre.

Today, I cycled out there over lunch with Roo. That’s the longest I have cycled in a while so it was good to have company (and someone to remind me to switch on Strava) as I went that way from the office.

The setup is really simple with images being projected, cards posted on the wall and seats. There are a few books and those give context to the cards on display.

This exhibition hit me in the gut. The things Kenyans say about each other, the things foreigners say (and have said) about Kenyans. Colonial images of people commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

It was jarring to open drawers (one for each tribe represented in my names) and see the things that remain unspoken. Even more to see things I have heard said about people I love on display.

And the memories from the first Kenya Burning exhibition as Roo checked out the coffee table book. The juxtaposition of some of the images, the depths to which we sunk, to which we still might.

Catch it if you can, every so often one needs a good shake. This is one of those.

Silent cabbies and the passenger’s gaze

Roo and I went to see In The Driver’s Seat at Shifteye Gallery yesterday over lunch. I am a big fan of Easy Taxi (& its vouchers 😁) so I was keen to see this exhibition.

Reader, I was underwhelmed.

Wait, it doesn’t count as a review if you say one thing.

Take 2:

The photos (shot by Louis Nderi) were great on the composition end. Well hung, as pieces generally are at the gallery, and interesting shots of drivers.

It didn’t feel like I got the thing on the box. The messaging had promised a look at the lives of drivers and the things they get up to when passengers are not around. These men (and a woman) were nameless faces without captions to clue us in on their stories.

You know what it felt like? Visiting someone’s house in the 90s and going through their albums in their absence.

Nice shots, not much by way of story. Go for the pictures.

Let the men come to you

The young man and his crew step onto the yard and bust moves. They are terrific and intriguing. Understandably, the girls pay attention. Who wouldn’t? And what do men who capture the attention of people also do? They arouse the desire of women… As does the man who leads this crew. One girl, at the end of their performance, looks at the leader with that look of suggestion also sometimes referred to as a ‘come-hither’ look. Well, good on her. The young man declines-he has chosen to abstain-with the aid of a V-for-victory (or is it V-for-virginity?) sign. Good on him, I say. The other girls in the yard laugh at her for having her offer rebuffed by the young (and may I say desirable now?) man . The scene ends with the principal or some such adult in the otherwise teenage situation trying to master the V sign. Scene pans out.

The other girls laugh at her because she desires a guy?? What am I missing here? I believe adverts are a commentary on society and for me this one says two-no, make that three-things. It’s not 1980 any more; women are liberated and feel empowered enough to ask for what they want. Love, sex, magic; they’ll ask for it. Whether or not they’ll get it is another matter.

Also, that it’s OK for young men to say no to the advances of women. As the first thing above so clearly shows, it’s not just men that want to get some. So do women, and they’ll go after the man of their choice. Which man could resist her advances, if he was so inclined. Kudos, young man!

Lastly; the first thing, while true, does not have the approval of society. So you want to go after the man you want (shall I say, the man you find too sexually appealing to resist)? Go after him, why don’t you; just don’t expect us to cheer you on. Harlot. Wait for that man to come after you! Oh, and cue the laughter of your fellow womenfolk here.

May this ad be a lesson to young women of the world & especially those domiciled in the Republic of Kenya. Let the men come to you.