Inspired: A Visit with Artists at Nairobi’s GoDown Arts Centre

Dickens Otieno Kenya Artist GoDown Arts Centre

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 Otieno

Dickens Otieno Kenya Art Jacket
Dickens Otieno Kenya Art Jacket and Shirt
Dickens Otieno Kenya Art Recycled Aluminium Picture
Dickens Otieno Kenya Art Recycled Aluminium

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


Mary Ogembo

Mary Ogembo Kenya Art Painting
Mary Ogembo Kenya Art Paintings

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 Mbirua

Caroline Mbirua Kenya Art Painting Landscape

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 Soi

Michael Soi Kenya Art Paintings Social Commentary
Michael Soi Kenya Art Paintings 24 Hour Economy

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


Visit The GoDown Arts Centre website for more info, programmes, photo gallery and more.

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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