“Bereft of earthly memories, a new arrival in the afterlife struggles to recover the past, in this poetic fantasy that offers a dark reflection on personal atonement in the shadow of Kenya’s violent past
Imagine waking up one day in a barren wasteland. Amnesia leaves you clueless as to your whereabouts, your identity, and how you arrived. A small group of strangers welcomes you to a nearby oasis resort, and they reveal to you the nature of this new reality. You are dead. And this is the afterlife. This is what happens to Kaleche (Nyokabi Gethaiga) in the enigmatic opening sequence of Kati Kati, writer-director Mbithi Masya’s poetic first feature film.
Kaleche is a new arrival with no recollection of her life or death. A dozen other young Kenyans are all caught in the same eerie dormant state. They want for nothing; they simply write down whatever their heart desires and it appears at their bedside the next morning.
The group’s unofficial leader is Thoma (Elsaphan Njora), who is passionate about helping the dead remember and reconcile with their fragmented pasts. But Kaleche’s presence triggers a transformation in Thoma. Their mutual enchantment with each other unearths a sinister secret of his, forcing him to confront his own denial and pain.
Masya is one third of the alternative house-funk trio Just a Band, and his musical background clearly informs the film’s lyrical rhythms — to say nothing of the way the script by Masya and co-writer Mugambi Nthiga crescendoes to a climax. With echoes of Wings of Desire and After Life, Kati Kati offers a dark reflection on personal atonement in the shadow of Kenya’s past.”
Fun Fact: His interest in painting started when he was a boy experimenting with ink from different pen colors, mixed and applied them on torn cardboards, which were sometimes hung on the walls of his mother’s sitting room. His mother invited Spee, a very famous artist to show him what the child was doing with the materials he could find in his milieu, thereafter the artist took him to his workshop, under his guidance so to better improve on his skills.
Vicious Diplomacy, my latest painting from a post-apocalyptic speculative fiction/art project set in the very distant future that I’ve been tinkering with here and there for several years. Chali Edimu, the character depicted in this painting, is a diplomat from a matriarchal society in which women possess psionic abilities in varying potencies.
As a lifelong science fiction and fantasy fan, I was always dismayed by the absence of black characters/black representation in the fandom, especially by the aggressive reluctance of some fans to even incorporate anything of diverse cultures within it. We never quite seem to survive the apocalypse either in post-apocalyptic narratives. There’s always a convenient genocide or disease to explain our grand disappearance from the world stage if the absence of diversity is addressed at all. Discovering Octavia Butler and Samuel Delany in a science fiction lit course in college really reaffirmed my love for the genre and pushed me to break away from its conventions in both writing and art to add my voice to the collective.
So, I never really write a description of my work but I figured I’d try it out. This is going to be in an upcoming show in Lincoln, NE entitled “About Human.” It’s also a continuation on a piece I did before titled “Conscious.”
I struggled for a while with the title of the show. I didn’t know how I was going to make my work fit in with the show. Everyone seems to be doing figurative work so I was comfortable in that aspect, on top of that he gave me a restriction. He wanted me to make work like my piece, “Here.” Cool…
So, with much thought, what came to mind with the title was the dehumanization of African Americans within a Eurocentric society. i.e. racism, systematic oppression, police brutality, inequality, prejudice, etc. Basic human rights that as people we should have but instead, in the year 2015 are still fighting for (or against. However you want to word it). These are examples of issues that black people face on a day to day basis and we still have individuals who are blind to the truth. We still have people who ignore the facts and are so comfortable in their privilege that they are oblivious to the struggles that many people face.
This piece, as well as the first, was never meant to be over complex. Instead, I wanted to leave it up for but the main point being that you should be aware and conscious. I feel as though everyone can relate to this piece in their own personal way and get something out of it. Open your eyes to the things that are happening around you. Open your eyes and see that the world isn’t always pleasant. Don’t ignore your surroundings because if you aren’t here to help than you are a part of the problem.