michaelsoi

The Center for #African #Family Studies has joined forces with #Kenyan #artist #MichaelSoi to create eye-catching #condom wrappers to promote #safesex.The group hopes to create a range of affordable condoms designed specifically for Kenyan #youth.CAFS says that condoms currently available are either low quality or too expensive for young people.According to CAFS, many young people in Kenya are aware of the dangers of unprotected sex, but the stigma attached to purchasing condoms when unmarried leaves many willing to take risks.

It was almost too hard to choose but I went with a piece that shows the kind of edgy and current messaging that attracted me to his work in the first place. As the artist notes, most of his work isn’t understood unless you are familiar with African contexts. We discussed a lot and definitely laughed about his series called ‘China loves Africa.’ The Chinese are taking over indeed and Michael Soi is capturing that in canvas. Ironically, some of the pieces from that series were sold to collectors in China. #michaelsoi #artist #nairobi #kenya (at GoDown Arts Centre)

I saved the best for last. Here’s Michael Soi, a fantastic Nairobi artist who makes art that speaks to current affairs, contemporary issues, local culture and politics. He uses awesome mixed media too. In light of the FIFA dramas, he has already painted a few pieces that include USD bills glued onto them. Others have clippings from newspapers, beer bottle labels, different metallic paints, swirls and curls… I love his work and hope to buy the painting he’s holding. It’s about the relationship between commercial sex workers and the Kenyan police. He says he doesn’t always sell his larger pieces as he paints them for himself though none without intentional messaging. A lot of his pieces depict lesbians and gay men as well as naked women. “It’s to make people think,” he says. “People often get upset and criticize my work. They even write bad things about it in the media. I don’t mind. I address issues and topics people don’t want to see or talk about and I’ll keep doing that.” Un vrai artiste ! What a talented and bright man. #nairobi #artist #michaelsoi #kenya (at GoDown Arts Centre)