Category Archives: Kibera
We brought our crew out to Holbæk to paint an old construction wall that was being used only for event posters. After spending some time speaking with the young people at the Holbæk Billedskole and getting some ideas down on paper, we set out to create a big collaborative mural.
We painted for a full day with the youths from the billedskole, but didn’t have enough time to finish the production. So, Rasmus and I went back Holbæk and met up with those same dedicated young people to finish painting the wall. We had a great time out there, even in the cold weather, and we’re pretty happy with the finished mural! Thanks go out to Mia from Holbæk Kommune and Bente from the Holbæk Billedskole, and all of the students there as well! We had a blast working with all of you.
Stay tuned for more news from SAOTR! Coming soon, we’ve got exhibitions, performances and Skype Calls… oh my!
Our first exhibtion is about to open! This year’s Street Art On The Run artists have been working together with many youths from Denmark on a variety of street art projects. Now the artists will display their professional works together at Gotham Gallery in Nørrebro, Copenhagen.
Delving into themes of democracy, inequality, and revolution, Street Art On The Run is truly unique group exhibition. Bringing Kenyan artists from Kibera and street artists and photographers from Copenhagen has given way to a reflective, impassioned, and innovative group of works. If you are in Copenhagen, you won’t want to miss it!
The self titled exhibition Street Art On The Run will open Saturday, October 13 from kl. 16 – 20 at Gotham Gallery.
Street Art On The Run artist Otieno Gomba speaks about art, empowerment and life in Kibera.
På flyturen til Kenya, brugte Juse One og jeg tiden på at diskutere udseende, form og farver for de kunstværker vi skulle lave den kommende uge.
Det eneste vi var sikre på, var at vi skulle lave nogle ting med et fælles udtryk. Brandon “Juse One” Lewis og jeg lavede vores første fælles værk sidste år i samarbejde med Njogu Touray, et portræt af Aung San Suu Kyi.
Efter at have tilbragt et par dage i Kiberas slum, blev vi enige om at lave portrætter af nogle af de mennesker, vi mødte på vores vej gennem ugens gang.
Både Juse og jeg har før arbejdet med portrætter, og er begge meget optaget af ansigter. På hotellet hvor vi boede, mødte vi den hårdt arbejdende nattevagt Ibrahim. Min første tanke var, at det ansigt måtte vi bare male, det føltes som at det var forudbestemt at vi skulle male hans portræt i Kiberas gader.
Jeg fortalte Juse om mine tanker omrking Ibrahim over en kold øl i hotelets bar, og her fra gik det stærkt. Juse havde haft nogle af de samme tanker/ idéer.
Så efter vi havde drukket vores “tusker” øl færdig, gik vi op på vores værelse og gik igang med at arbejde.
Efter en dags hårdt arbejde havde vi skabelonen af “Ibrahim” klar. Normalt elsker jeg portrætter af mennesker i sort/hvid, men efter nogle dage blev vi så inspireret af menneskerne, historierne og kulturen, at vi besluttede at lave portættet i “friske farver”.
Vores plan var at male portrættet i slummets hjertet af Kibera. Først på vores sidste dag fandt vi det helt rigtige spot, tæt på Maasai Mbili Art Center, og fik spraymalet det med et større lokalt publikum af børn og voksne.
Hvis du skulle lægge din vej forbi Kibera, måske for at besøge Maasai mbili Art Center, kan du måske være heldig at se Ibrahim i gaden.
Vi lavede også en anden udgave af portrættet i kælderen på hotellet hvor vi boede. Vi fik skudt en video af processen, og håber på at kunne lægge den op på siden senere på måneden.
Before I left Copenhagen, a good friend of mine and my wife’s passed along a name and phone number. It was for a graffiti artist called Bank Slave from Nairobi. A good lead I should say… I imagined that this artist might be hard to get a hold of, or perhaps maybe too far away from Kibera for our project. When we arrived in Kibera however, his graffiti was the first that we saw, and it was very impressive.
Photo by Torben Ulrik Nissen
At Maasai Mbili that evening, I asked Gomba about Bank Slave, and he immediately gave him a call. After some greetings in Swahili, Gomba passed the phone to me, and I introduced myself. When one writer speaks to another for the first time, there are certain cues, a certain diction, a language that only writers know and can use authentically. I could immediately tell that I was talking to a real graffiti writer, and beyond that, an artist. We made arrangements to meet up in Kibera over the next few days while Rasmus and I would be in town. When we met in person, we all hit it off right away. It was like meeting an old friend for the first time. After sitting down at his place and speaking for a while, we talked about our project, and the possibility of painting together at some point during the week. That afternoon, he had plans to link up with his crew, Spray Uzi, and they would paint a wall together.
Bank Slave, and the rest of Spray Uzi – Uhura, Swift, and Smokey – are definitely the top notch in Nairobi, and such humble and cool cats too. I am really looking foward to working with BankSlave later this year when he joins Rasmus Nielsen, Ashif and Gomba of Maasai Mbili, and myself for the DCCD Youth Program workshop series in October. In the mean time, stay tuned to StreetArtOnTheRun.org for news and updates from Copenhagen and Kibera!
Friday, March 30th, 2012: The beginning of Street Art on the Run. Copenhagen street artists Rasmus Nielsen and Juse One finally arrive in Nariobi, Kenya after 24 hours of travel.
Our mission from the good folks at DCCD (Danish Center for Culture and Development) is to explore Kibera, the largest slum area in all of Africa, in hopes of finding street artists to collaborate with. With some help from our colleagues Jesper and Torben of Post Art, the world’s first Free Trade art gallery, within just a few hours of landing in Nairobi we were sitting at a table with a collective of artists who live and work in Kibera. We met Gomba, Rabala, Chrissy, and Ashif – 4 out of a total of 8 artists who have formed a collective at the Maasai Mbili Art Center, right in the heart of the slums.
When you enter Kibera for the first time, you cannot help but be struck by the rough and rugged appearance of the structures, roads, vehicles and the rows upon rows of shantys and roadside shacks. The dust, the smoke from roadways packed with old cars, trucks and buses, piles of burning trash, and the streets filled with busy pedestrians… There is no mistaking the slum when you first encounter it.
And yet, despite the inescapable poverty and hard living conditions, Kibera is teaming with life, energy, community and joy. It is like nothing we have ever experienced before. Virtually as soon as we entered Kibera, we were greeted by new friends who welcomed us with open arms genuine excitement.
Gomba, one of the main artists at Maasai Mbili, took us for a long walk around Kibera, giving us a chance to be introduced to life in the slums. After making several stopsalong the way to see different areas and briefly speak with people, he treated us to a unique beverage that was served at a hidden coctail bar deep in the slums. We called it “Kibera Moonshine,” and after a glass or two, our new friendship with Gomba was beginning to blossom.
Every day we spend in Kibera presents new discoveries, characters, stories, and friends. Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow and in the coming days. In the mean time, feel free to take a look at our first photos on Flickr, and please link up with us on Facebook!
Juse & Rasmus