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KENYA ART FAIR 2017: WHO WE LOVED

In its fourth year, the annual Kenya Art Fair held in Nairobi at the Sarit Expo Centre, on 17th – 19th November was a success. As a platform, the Fair acts as a liaison between the visual arts industry and the public while promoting home-grown talent and providing recognition for upcoming artists under the Wasanii Exhibition initiative.

I attended the Fair on Saturday 18th November a decision I do not regret. Here’s why; less crowds, more space and time to explore. On entering the Expo Hall, I was first greeted by The Mix: Kakuma Refugee Artists who showcased a range of visual art pieces whose scope included body art, paintings and drawings from talented and empowered refugees.

The Fair was interactive with plenty of activities such as live drawing sessions which took less than 15 MINUTES! And Art talks that featured panel discussions on matters, contemporary art with well-known gallery owners, art space founders, established artists and art organizations’ representatives such as David Thuku & Anne Mwiti – both established artists, who discussed matters around art education and art practice.

The general ambience in the Hall was great – quite relaxing and it felt great to be surrounded with a burst of creativity, positivity and innovation. Each artist told their story, the best way they knew how. However, three particular artists’ stories, mediums, techniques and inspirations happened to be loud enough to grab Baniku’s attention and make it to our favorites list.

 

  1. Njogu Kuria

An experimental artist who currently explored with vinyl records and incorporated them into he’s pieces. Inspired by music, his pieces range from different genres such as reggae, rock, and hip hop depicting various influential music icons such as Bob Marley and Slash – lead guitarist of Guns N’ Roses. Some pieces portraying black women beauty.

Visit njogukuria.com for more information.

  1. Alex Njoroge

Two words; Bar. Conversations.

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Represented by the Kuona Trust Centre stand, Alex Njoroge’s art pieces were centralized on using burned cut stripes from beer cans attached by staples. Inspired by the day-to-day discussions happening in the bars, Alex depicts how alcohol present at the bars bring people together and that platform used to discuss important issues in the community and their possible solutions. Letting your guard down, elicits fruitful conversations hence, Bar Conversations.

  1. Michael Soi

I had a candid conversation with the dubbed ‘controversial’ artist on his sources of inspirations. Michael Soi a social commentary artist who highlights the “not openly talked about” conversations and stories happening within the city. The conversation cleared many preconceived concepts I had about his work. Through his elaborate description my mind opened up to the reality of the taboo topics and job titles given to twilight women. Michael is currently exploring tribal body art (body paint) – an art form cultivated during ancient African times in most African regions.

Visit www.michaelsoistudio.com to view more art works

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