THE POP ART GALLERY AT dusitD2:A SPACE FOR KENYAN ARTISTS

 

Katanu Kay (right) and Santina Nyagah CEO -Maridadi Life (left )

“Art when used well is a powerful , creative force that can change how we see ourselves,the world around us and how we respond to the challenges life throws at us.”

Art has been with us for millenia,for as long as we have had human beings on earth ,we have had art and an appreciation of art is a skill that is as a result of exposure.

The art  scene in Nairobi has become very vibrant and this activity   is what is attracting global attention to the city’s art scene.This vibrancy has been fuelled by a  burgeoning and  educated middle class as well as the high number of expatriates who live in the city who have beome very appreciative of the talent that  resides in the city and its environs.

With no distinct  home-grown art event ,the pop up trend has created an opportunity for artists to showcase their work to an appreciative local and international audience .

dusitD2 has filled this lack of a home-grown art event with the  pop art gallery exhibition  held at its upmarket location on 14,Riverside Drive.

The art exhibition  held every last Saturday of the month  has    a children’s  corner which runs concurrently with the exhibition and is  a partnership with Capital Kids club and  offers  an opportunity for children to get art lessons while  parents  enjoy the art work  from  very talented artists.

Kenyans are not avid consumers of art and through this  collaboration with Google Kenya ,dusitD2 is offering Kenyan artists the space to exhibit and sell their  art as well as   promoting  an  appreciation of art which offers an opportuity  for  artists to  earn a living through the sale of their  work.

On this particular Saturday the artists whose works were on display were:

  • Ssegujja Godfrey
  • Victor Binge
  • Katanu Kay
  • Ronnie Tindi
  • Jak Katarikawe
  • Sam Githui
  • Louis Chvetsova

 

I was very taken by the work of Katanu Kay which incorporated Kitenge fabric ,of particular interest to me was her work Euphoria 2 . We stood in front of that painting  talking about art , what inspires her and in that half hour I forgot she was just 1 month shy of her 20th birthday and that she  had  been exhibiting for just 2 years and  a month . Thanks to the exhibition,which  attended last year for the first time,  her work had found its way to   art collectors  in South Arica,Nigeria,the US and Australia.

 

Euphoria 2 is as a result of  a meeting with a lady who after seeing her work on Euphoria 1 asked for an exact copy of that particular piece.Katanu ,however does not do replicas of her work  and asked if  she could do something different ,the client agreed and the result is Euphoria 2.The two pieces ,Euphoria 1 & 2 are  inspired by the same thing ,a celebration of Katana’s African heritage and culture. It is her desire  that through her work  people take every   opportunity to  embrace being African and to  celebrate it.

She is a graduate   of the  BTEC Art and Design program at Brook House school and is headed to SCAD where she will be pursuing  her   studies in  Fine Art & Interior Design which she wants to pursue up to   PhD  level.

Art for Katanu  is a channel that  she uses to express herself , her ideas and it is a platform to share these ideas with the world.She would love that through her art people are able to ask questions,explore ideas and think outside the box of what society terms as the norm and that through this we develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other.

It is why she took the very unusual route of incorporating African fabric in her art work – which I thought was such a  great   conversation starter  on her work and what inspires her.

Read:African fabric making its presence on global runways.

When it was time for me to leave ,I found myself on the terrace of the Soko restaurant   thinking about what an amazing point in time it was to be alive,to hear artists like Katana talk about her   hope to have her work exhibited at the New York Art Gallery .

Thanks to dusitD2, this is not the last we have heard of this young lady and all the other equally talented artists who have found a  space to exhibit their art  work as well given an opportunity for Nairobi residents to enjoy local art.Before leaving,I  made a quick trip back to the exhibition to have one last look and some pieces had already been marked as sold and set aside  which only goes to  emphasise the quality of the work on display.

 

Look out for the next edition of the Pop Art Gallery on the last Saturday of this coming month of February and get ready to sample  great art and food .

See you there!

 

KONNICHIWA,HAVE YOU BEEN TO MINISO ?

 

These bags would be perfect for carrying make-up.

Konnichiwa (hello or good day in Japanese said with a deep bow from the waist)

Last year on May 16,2017 Kenya and Japan signed a cooperation agreement that would see Miniso a fashion brand from Japan make forays into the Kenyan market.Seven months later on December 22nd , Miniso would open its first retail store at the upmarket Village Market shopping  complex  and barely a month later they would open their second store at the Thika Road Mall .

The two  Kenyan  Miniso stores all located in Nairobi city  join a growing list of the over 2,600 outlets it has globally with its presence in Africa being in South Africa,Morocco,Nigeria,Egypt and Madagascar.Kenyans love the brand already as the few times I have been there the aisles have been busy and the staff are always very courteous and helpful.

Whenever I think of Japan it is the  vivid memories of cherry tree blossom season, the geta(the very fashionable wooden sandals) and kimonos that come to mind and sushi,how could i forget how the Japanese gave us Sushi!

Japanese culture intrigues me ,it is so prim and proper ,steeped in tradition yet  as a country is so technologically advanced it is mind boggling.  Tradition and technological advancement  can co- exist we just have to find the balance and African countries are coming into themselves and we have  seen an ever increasing appreciation of African culture globally over the last decade.

Miniso brand specializes in lifestyle products and the range of items in their stores range from play dough , nail polish to kitchen saucepan and mobile phone accessories .I found their products favorably priced and I would dare say they will disrupt the lifestyle retail sector with their high quality but well priced items.

 

As a brand Miniso gives the best of what we appreciate about the Japanese culture,their precision to detail,courtesy(we had an attendant follow us and bring a shopping cart) and a whole new way of doing business .

Konnichiwa(deep bow)

CHRISTMAS POST SERIES:BEST GIFTS COST YOU NOTHING

 

My friend Wambui and I are on an errand around Toi in Kibera and as she is parking her car,she notices someone she thinks she knows,but he looks different she says.I turn to take a second look at  the  young man she is referring to who is now directing us to a parking spot.You could easily pass him,ignore him or shudder when you look at him.

He is in torn jeans,a grey t shirt that has seen better days , open pair of battered brown  shoes and in his hands a faded grey towel.See those towels that they sell in traffic jams in Nairobi that end up somewhere in your car until you need it and can’t remember where you placed the last one one you bought and you tell yourself you have to buy another one.And when you buy a new one you find the old one and now you have a couple of towels that you really do not need.

Yes,those towels.

That is what he is holding in his hand,a small grey,damp  towel.

He comes to stand next to the drivers side of the car,unconsciously wiping the car as he talks to us,he works at a car wash.

But that is not what you notice when you first see him,you will first see the sores on his lips,sores that have turned his lips pink,an unnatural shade of pink with  red sores that look like blisters,the pink spots on his skin seem to be spreading because he also has a patch of pink with a smattering of his natural skin color on the  tip of his nose.

Wambui makes small talk with him and promises to be back in a few minutes,sadly I  do not think much about that young man all I ask myself is what happened to him and quickly start calculating how much time we will have to spend in traffic to get home.

When we get back to the car,I strap myself in and then Wambui does not drive off,she starts a conversation with him.

His name is Amigo,he is 35 and this skin condition he has…one day he was fine,all dark brown melanin color, then one day he wakes up and his skin color has started to change  and he cannot explain it.He struggles to explain what changed,how his skin changed and I can tell he does not know what to say as he keeps shaking his head .He works at a car wash nowadays as he cannot find a job,lives with his mother and has a 6 year old son that calls him dad that he has to take care of. Wambui talks and I listen and thinking to myself of how many other people  have been helped by Amigo to park their cars and once they had done so,they locked  their cars , went off to their business,shopping for stuff at Toi or Adams and when they were done,they came got into their cars and drove off.Did not even look back.

Those people could be me.

Amigo talked and as he talked of how he had been to Kenyatta and Mbagathi hospitals hoping to get medication for his skin condition,but nothing seems to change even after these visits and medication.

Amigo talked and we listened and later as we drove back home we talked about him and we felt our hearts break,listening to him.We promised to back and we prayed for him.

I hope we can do something for Amigo,maybe get him someone that could diagonize his skin condition or give him a job

If you are ever in Toi during this Christmas season and you see that young man,say hallo to him,encourage him because sometimes we meet people on the street they look fine to us but they are fighting giants within themselves,they are fighting battles we know nothing about and carrying loads of care and worry that would crash us.

As we celebrate Christmas this year,spare a thought and your time for the people you would normally never talk to or listen to and just give them your time,it costs nothing.

My encounter with Amigo made me think of the help I have received from people over the years and sometimes that help was not even monetary,it was a listening ear,encouragement,prayers,best of wishes as I worked on an idea and I realized that the best help we can give to anyone is our time.

It also challenged me to give time to people who sometimes are in the periphery of my life,people I would not normally talk to because I was afraid that there is nothing I could say to them that would change their circumstances or be of help .We all can be an answer to someones prayer and sometimes their prayer is that someone sees them,sees them and listens to them because when we listen,it shows we care.

The value of time is so precious,that time you give to a friend looking for someone to listen to the challenges they are going through at work,with life or as they grow their business is invaluable.If you spare some time to listen to someone,maybe that is all they need to know that someone cares enough to give them their time may give that person the strength to live another day.

.This Christmas,give more of yourself,of your time to someone you would  normally not give your time to,listen to them and really hear what they are saying.It is the best thing you can do to yourself and to someone who needs you.

The best Christ Christmas gifts cost you nothing.

NAIROBI’s BEST COFFEE HOUSES

 

You are a budding entrepreneur and have been looking for an exciting place to hold client meetings and you rather enjoy meeting people away from your office just maybe because you like coffee like i do,right?

I have been to most of the coffee houses in Nairobi and I would like to name just 3 of my favourite places to meet clients or friends over coffee.Good thing that these 3 restaurants I am featuring today also offer lunch and dinner options ad you get to enjoy a filling meal and of course the coffee to keep you going through out the day.

1.Urban Eatery

Urban Eatery sits on the ground floor of  PWC,Delta Towers  in Westlands and  one end of the restaurant has some plush seats  that is quiet on Saturday mornings and you can have your breakfast there as you work.This has to be my favourite place in the whole of Nairobi.

Try the Urban eatery slushies ….love them!

2.Art Caffe-Garden City

You have to love the detail with which the Artcaffe chain has put  into its decor,their modern design is what keeps customers walking through their doors to have what is hands down some of the  best coffee and pastries in Nairobi.

Living around Thika road especially,their Garden City cafe’ with its movie posters dotting the walls and you  feel character oozing from the walls.I could spend hours here and only the thought that I have to be working gets me out of this place.

A definite must try if you happen to be on this side of town and I would definitely recommend their pastries.

3.Khaldi’s

Located smack in the middle of Nairobi,Kaldi’s is along Kimathi Street and on Harambee Avenue as well.I was introduced to this place by my sister , in addition to their great coffee and generous servings I would recommend their smoothies,their blue berry smoothie has to be the best in the whole of the central business district of Nairobi

Having also had the pleasure to have lunch at their Harambee House restaurant I would definitely recommend them as well if your do happen to need a  place for lunch.

Maybe I have left out some of your favourite spots around Nairobi would love to hear about them.And if you live outside of Nairobi…share some of your favourite places where you catch up friends.

Thanks for visiting,let us know you passed by by leaving us a comment down  below…

 

RANDOM THINGS

Source:Maridadi Media
Source:Maridadi Media

There are somethings i have been upto over the last couple of weeks that have left me inspired,bewildered and plainly shocked.But the truly inspiring things have been pretty random.Like a friend who askedtoseeme for some blogging advice which then turned into  into coffee then into the famous java dawa accompanied by lots of laughter over the many things we have in common.

Or the stack of books i am reading which i need to finish reading.

Or that this post has been typed using a virtual keyboard because mine is not working ,which is a test in patience for me.

I have read 3 chapters of each book and  halfway with James Dobson Bringing up girls which i want to do a review for later and Becoming a Better You by Joel Osteenwhich definetely deserves a review too.

You may want to look at the other book reviews i have done before which are here.

Then i have a new found love for street magazines like this Martha Stewart Weddings i got and with truly beautiful photos. beautiful photoswhich appear at the top of the post!

You can get great things when roaming the streets of Nairobi,all for 300 shillings and i get to drool at the beautiful dresses and get inspiration for my next event planning gig.

I am trying to takee better pictures.

What random things have you been upto lately?

Share.

Xo,

Ina