kenyan artists

“Here’s to friendship, to collaboration, to the love of theater, Africa, and women. Here’s to Danai Gurira and the world of Eclipsed on Broadway she created, that I get to embody and inhabit every night at the Golden Theater.”

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/02/26/lupita-nyongo-danai-gurira-ew

via: Lupita Nyong'o Facebook Page

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C-Stunners by Kenyan visual artist Cyrus Kabiru

As a good example for the youth and also as an art teacher, you could have probably received government funding to support your project as cultural education.
CK: No, our government is shit. They just believe in the people who are more educated, those who wear suits. (Laughs) Last month, I was with a Kenyan politician then I met a group of people who knew me, they began to shout “we know this guy!” The politician was upset with their reaction because he felt like they should know him rather than me. He should be the most popular one between us both. Politics in Kenya is bullshit. They always and only care for themselves as they drive around in big cars.

Are they supporting art at all?
CK: We have the oldest politician, William Ole Ntimama, as the Minister of Art and Culture, and for him Kenyan art is only about the Maasai and traditional dances!

So, what are your designs made with? Where are you getting your materials from?
CK: I just collect material from everywhere when I walk in the streets of Nairobi. First, I love nature and that’s the reason I work with recycled material. I want people to know how to give trash a second chance.

The C stunners project caught my eye. I could clearly imagine it on a runway, in a movie or in a dance piece. Why C stunners?
CK:(Laugh) C stands for my name or to see. The stunners is of course because they are stunning!

Click through for the entire interview

Seven Questions With Velma Rossa of 2ManySiblings

By Jennifer Sefa-Boakye

Photo credit: Sarah Waiswa, 2015

On a recent trip to Nairobi we had the pleasure of shooting with Kenyan creative duo 2ManySiblings. The brother and sister team of Papa Petit and Velma Rossa have been creating (and curating) a visually stimulating portfolio of photography and styling work that reflects the zeitgeist of young African artists who are interested in “adding positively to the thread of the contemporary African narrative” 

A few weeks later, we chatted with them over e-mail to talk more about their inspirations and how they hope to take their passion project to new heights.

Read on for our mini-interview with Velma Rossa and keep an eye out for the full GCAH X 2manysiblings interview and photo editorial.

Velma, you recently traveled to Ghana for the ChaleWote Street Art Festival. Can you give us a glimpse into what your experience there was like?

I think any chance to get a new cultural experience is never a bad thing! I liked how the local old fishing community in Jamestown (where the festival is held ) integrated seamlessly with the contemporary … so vibrant and beautiful. Visual stories like nothing I had ever seen. It was my kind of jam! A return trip needs to made.

What excites you most about the alternate forms of African creativity that you and the other women who participated in Wàllá Dá bring to the table?

The fact that these alternate forms of creativity are now expressed by such strong inspirational women…nothing gets  me more excited than that! It’s about time.

What do you admire most about your brother?

That he has a strong street smart hustle work ethic

Whose work are you in love with right now?

Viviane Sassen. I mean…

What makes you happy?

Tea

When do you feel most peaceful and in tune with your true self?

In the shower (is that weird)? i have had many intelligent monologues in that place

Is there a particular philosophy that drives your approach to your life and your work?

Evoke ecstatic moments

Read: Seven Questions With Papa Petit Of 2ManySiblings

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Eagerly anticipating the release of this collaboration! Santigold and Wangechi Mutu Studio!! Video release of Mutu’s first ever animated video is this week.
Ciné Kenya has featured Wangechi Mutu’s work previously including her collaboration with prolific artists here, her incredible work as the artistic director for a Pegasus Warning music video here, an interview at her home here and her exhibition A Fantastic Journey here.

Seven Questions With Papa Petit Of 2ManySiblings

By Jennifer Sefa-Boakye

Photo: 2manysiblings

On a recent trip to Nairobi we had the pleasure of shooting with Kenyan creative duo 2ManySiblings. The brother and sister team of Papa Petit and Velma Rossa have been creating (and curating) a visually stimulating portfolio of photography and styling work that reflects the zeitgeist of young African artists who are interested in “adding positively to the thread of the contemporary African narrative.”

A few weeks later, we chatted with them over e-mail to talk more about their inspirations and how they hope to take their passion project to new heights.

Read on for our mini-interview with Papa Petit and keep an eye out for the full GCAH X 2manysiblings interview and photo editorial.

Papa Petit, how important is it for you to live and work in the country where you were born and raised, instead of moving abroad and living in one of the so-called “art capitals” such as London, Paris, or New York?

I don’t think there is anywhere in the world I know better than Nairobi. It’s home and I get so much inspiration from my city as it has made me who I am. I would love to travel and see the world get to see life from a different perspective, experience new culture, meet new people but I don’t feel I need to stay abroad to be able to tell my story and express my art. As a creative, Africa is buzzing and I love being here experiencing the evolution.

What are your thoughts on the recent shift in how African artistry and creativity is regarded within the continent as well as on a global scale.

Our voice and presence as Africans is getting stronger and stronger by the day and it’s about damn time the rest of the world looks at how Africa is contributing to humanity positively rather than focusing on political instabilities and civil strife. I’m seeing emerging artists that are proud to be African and are not looking to the western world for approval but doing it for Africa and pushing the continent forward.

What do you admire most about your sister?

She is a source of inspiration for me and many others.

What makes you happy?

Being able to inspire and be inspired by others

When do you feel most peaceful and in tune with your true self?

At my tailors apprenticeship space. Everyday there is like therapy .

Whose work are you in love with right now?

I’m interested in a lot of people’s work but at the moment fashion designer Rick Owens stands out.

Is there a particular philosophy that drives your approach to your life and your work?

Be sincere as possible in your work and not to do something for approval or acceptance and popularity.Work for a greater cause than personal acclaim :).

Read: Seven Questions With Velma Rossa Of 2ManySiblings

Meet Kawira...

AWID: Who or what inspires you? What do you imagine when you think about “Feminist Futures”?
KM: I think that when it comes right down to it, I am inspired by the belief that we can live genuinely – that we can embrace and express our humanity with all its oddities – and by doing so tap into our greatest power in a very real way. This belief actually also ties in to my idea of a “Feminist Future”, which is one where we get to be as fierce, as vulnerable, as strong… as lovingly self-expressed, as we can be as individuals. I am driven by this belief because I am convinced that its opposite – fear and controlling – are what birth many of the social problems we deal with today.

AWID: Tell us about the context where you live, and how your work speaks to the current realities?
KM:
In Kenya, we still live in a fractured society that is built on fundamentally patriarchal, capitalistic ideals that tend to disguise themselves as religious or cultural norms. Women’s security and freedoms are still controlled and policed, the LGBTIQ individual is still oppressed by law, and we have yet to heal from the racial and tribal scars brought on through colonisation and divisive governance. However, the human rights conversations we’ve been having in the community are constantly bearing fruit and shifting the perspectives of the people of my country into something more respectful and unifying. Through my work as an artist, I aim to build on this foundation and foster a culture of love and celebration in ourselves as individuals. Because perhaps if we can learn to truly see, accept, love and celebrate ourselves , we can also recognize, accept, love and celebrate our neighbour’s humanity and nurture more peaceful interactions with our world.

Learn more about Kawira’s work:  www.kalacompany.com