Monday is usually 'studio visiting day' and this Monday was no exception. I went to see Shabu Mwangi who proudly calls Lunga Lunga Slum his home. After meeting up at the GoDown, Shabu and I drove to Lunga Lunga in the company of my usual crew of four legged friends.
At the entrance to the slum, we parked and Shabu had a group of his friendly helpers look after the car with its windows rolled way down, as there was no shade to park the dogs in.
Off we set on foot through the maze of Mbati (corrugated metal) shops and homes, with Shabu stopping regularly to chat to friends. There is a strong sense of community about the place, everyone seemingly relaxed with no under-current of tension. I felt quite safe taking photos on my smart phone as we walked.
We hopped over the open sewers and negotiated the mud, puddles and mounds of plastic trash. First I stopped by Shabu's pristine studio but as we left he asked me if I would like to see his project round the corner.
We set off again.
Peter Elungat and Olivia Pendergast's exhibition opened on Sunday 31st August to a highly appreciative audience.
Many of the artist's peers attended, including some of Kenya's biggest names; Richard Kimathi, Anthony Okello, Kamal Shah, Bertiers, Peter Ngugi, Shabu Mwangi, Yassir Ali, Florence Wangui, Maggie Otieno, Dale Webster, John Kamicha and Thom Ogonga. We were also exceptionally honoured to enjoy the company of the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, HE David Angell.
Got back from having coffee at the National Muesum with Yony Wai^te and James Muriuki - a follow-on from a magical visit to Yony's studio on the Athi Plains last week. I feel I've come full circle on this one.
When I first worked as a designer in Kenya 33 years ago, I was sent to commission Yony to do a 20 foot long mural for Samburu Lodge. Yony decided to paint the canvas whilst staying in a tiny apartment in California and so she never had a full impression of her output because the canvas had to wind round a few corners and through a couple of rooms. She then decided to transport it back to Kenya wrapped around her huge new desk-top computer.
As curator of a Fine Art Gallery for almost 21 years, I've met some highly original people and found myself in some unusual situations. I hope you enjoy my day to day adventures of running One Off Gallery in Nairobi, Kenya.