Art is life.
An Artist cannot fail. It is a success just to be one.
Attending the book fair in primary school was a privilege only the chosen few got to experience once a year. By chosen few I mean the people who cared about books and were loved enough by the teachers to be granted a day out of school.
I luckily got to experience the amazing book fair at The Sarit Centre for three years in a row (before adolescence came knock knock knocking on my door and crushing on beautiful people became more interesting) and I remember loving every bit of it.
You see, it wasn’t the skiving bit that got me amped whenever I heard I would attend the book fair, but the feeling of discovery and adventure that was linked to the experience. I got immersed in the wonders of both Kenyan and African authors that were unknown to me before and I also got to experience worldly and wordy discoveries in a way only an optimistic child would.
Walking into the Sarit Centre for the recently concluded Kenya Art Fair was reminiscent to those primary school days and the beautiful feeling I would get whenever I would go for the Book fair. The mood in the exhibition venue got me super excited because of the creative and positively artistic air that filled the otherwise bland Sarit Expo Centre. The room was filled with mighty, grand and colourful creations by the who’s who of Kenyan art. My good friend Msingi Sasis had suggested that I undertake a personal project which involved capturing intriguing portraits of the people behind the amazing creations displayed at the Kenya Art Fair. I had such an amazing time talking to and getting to know some of the brilliant artists my country boasts.
The Mali ya Mali stand by founder and artist, Mutheu Mbondo’s, was the first in line and I knew I was in for a treat judging from the beautiful art work she had on display. She not only uses Khanga material to create amazing useable art ranging from books to bags and many more but she also incorporates sayings and words from Kenyan poets and writers in her work.
One artist noted that most of his pieces were not purchased by the locals urging all Kenyans to support local artists, build their own and simply make their (the artists’) day.
The variety of material displayed was mesmerizing ranging from metallic structures, oil paintings, realistic drawings, wearable art, digital art and many more. My expectations were exceeded beyond measure. I got to see and behold amazing works by a number of artists, organizations and brands.
“The affairs happening in the country started affecting me, I saw the need to document the political issues in the country”, said Michael Musyoka, artist and visionary behind the ‘Ngware’ and ‘Mating Positions’ series. One of his paintings contained several elements which alluded to the current state of corruption in the country for example, chai, brown sugar, Sonko’s ambulances. His style involves stacking stories into one another and the end result is an amazing ‘inception-like’ journey into his pieces.
Check out some of the amazing artists and work displayed at the Kenya Art Fair.