The GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi houses a performance space, several creative businesses and artist studios. It's a multidisciplinary arts incubator of sorts, with a mission
"to develop independent artists across multiple art forms and to participate in the advancement of the cultural sector, thereby contributing to the establishment of a robust arts and culture sector with expanding receptive audiences" (emphasis mine and an intention after my own heart!)
While reintroducing Lus to Nairobi a few months ago, we decided to nose around the artist studios and we were so pleased to be so warmly welcomed by Dickens, Mary, Caroline and Michael.
Dickens creates these commanding sculptures and woven pictures by recycling aluminium cans. The process involves collecting cans and cutting them into thin strips which he then weaves to create sheets of 'fabric' and 'thread' that he then uses to create his aluminium garments and pictures.
Get in touch with Dickens: diotge [at] gmail [dot] com
I was particularly taken by Mary's large paintings portraying women's hairstyles. I like the limited colour palette of the series and how she balances simplicity with texture and pattern to create interest.
Get in touch with Mary: m_ogembo [at] yahoo [dot] com
Caroline's paintings have a certain atmospheric quality and can elicit emotions ranging from anxiety to calm, from sadness to joy.
Get in touch with Caroline: naiyimac [at] yahoo [dot] com
Michael's paintings offer social commentary on the city and touch upon, as he says "what we would rather not talk about in public". Colourful and graphic (in more ways than one!), his paintings are at once beautiful to look at and uncomfortable.
Visit Michael's Facebook page: The Art of Soi Michael.
Photos taken with permission of the artists. PS I have telephone numbers for Dickens, Mary and Caroline – if you're interested, drop me an email.
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