VOA review of art in Kenya

Here is an interesting read.VOA journalist  Roopa Gogineni did an interesting piece on art in Kenya. She interviewed Kuona artists and staff about the challenges facing the art industry. Cyrus Kabiru talks about his struggle to become an artist against society’s expectations. Read more

Maryanne Muthoni panell discussion with students from St Aloysius Gonzaga

We have gotten fantastic feedback from ‘The Woman’s Vote’ Exhibition that has been at the Kuona Trust gallery from the 16th to the 25th of August.Students and teachers from St Aloysius Gonzaga  came by last week and had a discussion with Maryanne Muthoni based around women and the significance of their vote in modern society.Click here to read more on what they gained from the experience.


Throne Africa Ltd and Kuona Trust have partnered to bring you Soul Voyage | A Musical Journey which comprises of live contemporary Afro Jazz, Acoustic Soul and Afro Fusion music. SOUL VOYAGE debuted at Alliance Française in March 2011 on a mission to showcase unique locally grown musical talent and elevate these quality performances to world renowned standards. This year, Soul Voyage has been given a fresh twist by being held at Kuona Trust Art Centre off Denis Pritt Road, now Every first Saturday of the month starting this weekend – 1st September 2012, from 2 to 6pm.


 It’s an afternoon of fresh, unique and feel-good music, set on a natural art backdrop with metal and wooden sculptures alongside paint and stained glass works. Logs and haystacks for seats and the best laid back, feel-good music from well-groomed and seasoned musicians and masters of their crafts. A remarkable snack and cocktail bar is set up to serve tasty snacks and accompaniments to tease your taste buds and creative cocktails to ease your nerves and enhance your mood. The musicians being featured in this show will be:-

The Throne Quartet (Main Band),

Jack Anduuru (Renowned Saxophonist),

A SURPRISE guest artist,

DJ INFINITY (celebrated soul DJ)

The special feature for the day is dubbed ‘The Saxxy Medley’. This is a unique and rarely executable combo of the DJ, Saxophonist and a live band back line.

NEXT SHOW: Throne Quartet, featured artists such as Fadhilee Itulia, Mutinda, LiveART Fusion (artists painting to live music) and much much more.

Craft Afrika Party

ImageKuona Trust will be hosting Craft Afrika this weekend, in support of the Bring Zack Back campaign, for a fundraising craft party on the 25th August 2012. The party starts at 9am and goes on till the last person leaves!!

On 9th June, Zack Kimotho, 44, set out on his wheelchair to South Africa on a 4000km journey. He is attempting to raise 250million shillings for the construction of a spinal injury treatment center in Nairobi.

To date, 73million has been raised in phase one of the fundraising effort. There is still 177million to go.

The Craft Party will involve plenty of DIY craft activities, art and craft items for sale, food, live entertainment (featuring Stan, Sage & Christine the Jazzist, Maia von Lekow, Valentine Ziki and an appearance by Sara Mitaru), kids entertainment, PLUS an opportunity for you to send a personal video message of encouragement to Zack.

Bring out the whole family for a day out in the August sunshine, in an atmosphere like no other, for a cause that should be as real to us as it is to Zack.

Kuona Trust August 2012 Newsletter

Ongoing events at Kuona Trust

Kuona trust invites you to the’ Woman’s Vote’, an exhibition by Maryanne Muthoni

Kuona Trust welcomes you to view the exhibition “THE WOMAN’S VOTE” by the artist Maryann Muthoni which opened on Thursday 16th August 2012.

The Woman’s Vote is an interactive exhibition installed by Maryann Muthoni, an emerging contemporary female Kenyan artist based at Kuona Trust, Centre for Visual Arts. Muthoni comes from a generation of Kenyan contemporary artists who believe that art is a tool that can be used to ‘voice’ our societies plights.

Exhibition Opens: Thursday 16th August and runs until Saturday the 25th of August 2012.

The Woman's Vote

The Woman’s Vote exhibition poster

Events to look forward to

KILIMANI SPEAKS presents Picha Sauti, Saturday 18th August 2012.

Kuona Trust has joined partnership with a community project of those who live, work, or play in the Kilimani area.  This project has several aspects to it that will bring Kilimani together to reflect on Kilimani’s evolution, celebrate its vibrant present and envision its future.

A key part to this is documenting Kilimani as we see it through our lenses – optical and camera – in what is being called Picha Sauti.  This creative community exercise kicks off this Saturday! Warm up your voices – cameras (smart phone or traditional) and let’s walk around Kilimani on Saturday, 18 August from 2-4 PM starting at Kilimani Primary School and ending at Kuona Trust Centre for Visual Arts.

This exercise is Kilimani’s opportunity to speak. Picha Sauti is people who care about Kilimani coming together to create pictures and words that form a compelling presentation of their shared aspirations for the area.  For TWO weeks we invite EVERYONE to go out on their own or in groups as they wish to take pictures of buildings, businesses, sidewalks, trees/landscape, parking or anything you think is an important piece of the Kilimani story, e.g. to preserve, enhance or consider changing.

These photos will be shared online and compiled for a physical exhibition in a public venue in Kilimani.  We invite everyone to snap and send your photos to kilimanispeaks@gmail.com by 1 September.

Any questions or for more information please contact us at 0706349070 or at the above email address.  Follow us on twitter: @kilimanispeaks and join our facebook group: kilimanispeaks.

Craft Africa- an initiative to help raise funds for the Bring Zack Back Project

Craft Africa will be having an exciting fundraising event at Kuona Trust on the 25th of August 2012.The one of a kind craft fair aims to raise funds for the Bring Zack Back Home project. Zack is on his way to South Africa on his wheel chair, trying to get to the nearest spinal cord injury rehabilitation centre location. To bring him back, we need to raise Ksh 250 million to build a facility right here in Kenya.   More information on http://www.bringzackbackhome.com/

Bring Zack Back Home Campaign

Soul Voyage

This will be the first of its kind Jazz event at Kuona Trust to be held on the 8th of September 2012. This is a splendid way for the family to spend a Saturday afternoon. For a modest fee, music lovers will be able to enjoy performances by various local jazz artists in a serene and relaxed atmoshere. You will also have the opportunity to visit the artist studios and meet the artists at Kuona –perhaps even buy some art. This is a monthly event- tickets available at the gate on the day.

“Unhidden”, Youth Arts exhibition

Join us on 31st August – 1st September as  young artists aged between 13 -19 years of age, display over 40 pieces of work at the Kuona Trust Gallery.  Kuona is keen to support youth and children in their journey and growth in the visual arts. At Kuona we take a keen interest in the mentoring of youth to create a new breed of artists in our communities.

The organisers want to provide an opportunity for families, young people and other interested groups to mingle and appreciate the beauty of the artwork produced by the youth while supporting them as they grow to expand the art awareness in Kenya.

Tickets for the event will be on sale from the week of August 13thand all the monies raised from ticket sales shall be donated to the Mobile Arts’ School of Kenya. The school was set up in 2006 with the aim of  improving the creative capacity of young people.

Find Us Online

We would like to thank you for your patience and for bearing with us while our website has been down. We realized that the Kuona website needed some updating and a fresh new look and are pleased to announce that we will be launching the new site in just a couple of days.Find Us Online

We also have a very active blog space which is open to the public to share relevant art related discussions, ideas and comments. https://kuonatrustblog.wordpress.com/

If you have not already joined our Facebook group please do so – http://www.facebook.com/kuonatrust

Follow us on twitter-https://twitter.com/Kuona_Trust


“Ithumba/ Living on the edge of the world was an exhibition by two of our resident artists Ntando Cele from South Africa and Mario Macilau from Mozambique.The exhibition combined a unique blend of performance art and photography, which pulled a large audience of curious onlookers. Ntando’s piece was about justice and fighting oppresion of women in society while Mario chose to highlight the plight of people living in the Dandora dumpsite. We were graced with the presence of Safaricom C.E.O. Bob Collimore, Camilla Veerman from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and our trustee Ian Vale among other dignitaries.

Boniface Mwangi,Sylvia Gichia and Bob Collymore at the Exhibition

Ithumba  Exhibition at Kuona Trust

Ithumba/Living on the edge of the World Exhibition at Kuona Trust

Living on the Edge of the World Exhibition by Mario Macilau

Exhibitions outside Kuona

The Sanaa ya Makaratasi

This exhibition featured an array of artists from across Africa who showcased a different genre of art produced from paper and using paper itself as work of art.  Works ranged from sketches as a study for a final piece to lithographs, and other medium originally intended for paper, to works in which the medium itself is paper.  The Nairobi National Museum provided space for this exhibition to artists from the 12 African countries, and two of these artists  are Sudanese artists – Fawaz Elsaid, Yassir Ali, both based at Kuona Trust.

Sanaa ya Makaratasi Exhibition Poster


Nubian Art

This was a solo exhibition by Yassir Ali at the Talisman Restaurant in Karen. His work is strongly influenced by the Nubian culture which reflects his background. He works with acrylics on canvas using bright bold colours that give his paintings a vibrant feel.

Nubian atmosphere Exhibition by Yassir Ali

Nubian atmosphere Exhibition by Yassir Ali

Paul Onditi at One Off Gallery

Paul Onditi’s paintings leave one in amazement, not just by the immence amount of work that he obviously puts into it, but by the intricate designs and technique applied. Most of his pieces have his signature figure and are recognizable by the lonely mystical man lurking in the shadows. Make sure you catch the show at the One Off Gallery in Rosslyn. The exhibition runs from the 29th of July to the 22nd of August 2012

Paul Onditi’s Exhibition at One Off Gallery images courtesy of Max Mason.

Omosh Kindeh and John Silver at Le Rustique

Two of the artists based at Kuona Trust, Omosh Kindeh and John silver had a joint exhibition alongside Wilson Mwangi at the Le Rustique restaurant in Westlands, Nairobi. The trio displayed the best of their works in an exhibition that ran for a period of four weeks to till the  5th of August.

Hivos Happy hour

Kuona’s effort to encourage corporates to visit the art space and mingle with our artists has born fruit and activities such as the Kuona Happy hour are highly successful. We were fortunate enough to have Hivos sponsor our last happy hour. Artists and staff from both Hivos and Kuona Trust got to interact and exchange ideas around art, politics and current issues. This was all over a cocktail with finger licking food proudly sponsored by Hivos and an exhiliarating performance by the Theatre Company.

Together with many partner organisations, Hivos contributes to a world with equal opportunities for people to develop their talents. Hivos attempts to realise this by offering financial support and by advising, networking, advocacy, providing education and exchanging knowledge. Hivos has been a long time partner and donor of Kuona Trust and have generously funded Kuona Trust for a period of ten years and we look forward to working with them in the coming future.

Hivos Happy Hour


Photography Workshop by Mario Macilau

During his 3 months residency programme at Kuona Trust, Mario Macilau conducted a photography workshop. The aim of the workshop was to teach the basics of photography and give the paricipants a better understanding of the dynamics involved in taking a perfect picture.

Mario Macilau Workshop

Performance workshop with Ntando Cele

Ntando Cele, our resident artist who happens to be one of the most versatile performance artists in Africa worked with two women, under the coordination of Mumbi Kaigwa for seven days in a workshop whose end product was the brilliant performance at the opening dubbed Ithumba.

Performance Workshop at Kuona Trust with Roseline Odhiambo and Mary Kathomi

Children’s workshops with Beth Kimwele

Beth Kimwele has been holding a series of children’s workshops in her studio, showing them the delicate balance of the brush and paint as well as using other media to create artwork. It has been a good learning experience for the kids and a well deserved break from the school curriculumn.

Beth Kimwele's workshop at Kuona Trust

Beth Kimwele’s workshop at Kuona Trust

The KiteWorkshop at Kuona Trust

The Kenyan Kite Festival team had a children’s workshop at the Kuona Trust grounds teaching children how to build kites. The workshop was inspired by the smARTpower Kite Project conducted a few months ago by Miguel Luciano, a former international resident artist at Kuona Trust. The children made life kites with life size images of themselves on them,  and had the opportunity to fly the same kites during the 1st Kenyan Kite Festival held on the 12th August.

Screen on the Green workshop at Kuona Trust

Screen on the Green workshop at Kuona Trust

Introduction to glass mosaic workshop

Twenty participants have recently completed an Introduction to Glass mosaic workshop that was facilitated by master glass artist Tonney Mugo.  The one week workshop was extremely successful with all 20 participants fully engaged in the practical experience. Participants were awarded with certificates of participation at the end of the workshop. We are already receiving inquiries on the next glass workshop which we hope to have in a couple of weeks.

Glass Mosaic Workshop

School Visits

The Mirema School Art club came for a short tour of the space this month. The club had members from different grades as well as those from the special needs class. They were able to interact with the artists as well as getting advice on how they can improve on their artistic skills.

Mirema School Art Club visit to Kuona Trust

We also had a group of high school students visiting from Seoul National University, Korea. They had a chance to tour the space and learn abit more about African art. The group was very mult-disciplinary with only a few students majoring in art or art history. Cyrus Kabiru prepared a found objects workshop for this group which  was a first time experience for all and they were able to learn and appreciate new forms and skills of working.

Soyeon Kim wrote, “Kenyan art is more like living than Korean art (as far as I’m concerned). After I made this wire art today, I felt in my heart that Kenyan art is near us, it’s all around and it’s quite active, like living.”

New artists

Our family is growing, and at a very fast rate I might add. Enigma Images joined us a few moths ago. This is a company that offers professional photography services and run by two gentlemen Amunga Esuchi and Ian. They work as a team taking on various projects and documentary work. Their focus is on portraying Africans as a proud people who are vibrant, creative and full of life contrary to the way it is sometimes portrayed especially by foreign media. As an introduction to the space, they gave a short presentation alongside Joel Lukhovi, an upcoming photographer and friend of Kuona who is steadily rising in the ranks of becoming one of the best young photographers in Kenya.

Amunga Esuchi and Ian Mwathi of Enigma Images

Presentation by Enigma Images and Joel Lukhovi

Brian became the second and most recent artist to join the space. He is an illustrator and digital artist. He has previously specialized in web design, branding and advertising and is now looking to spread his wings into other art mediums.

Maasai mbili (meaning two maassai’s) also came on board and have taken Kuona by storm. They have joined Kuona for a three month term and are working on a commission project showcasing the faces of Nairobi. They are also in collaborating on a project with the famous Maia Von Leko,a songwitter and musician based in Nairobi. We are thrilled to have them in our space.

Masaai Mbili at Kuona

Introducing our new resident artists

We have three exciting new resident artists all very strong personalities and well versed in the medium they work in.

Collin Sekajugo is an artist from Uganda who works in mixed media. He is also the brain child behind the Weaver bird project In Uganda that tries to work with the society using art as a way of creating employment.

Kuona Trust Resident Artist Collin Sekajugo

Kuona Trust Resident Artist Collin Sekajugo

Leila is an amazing sculptor who makes extraudinary sculptures using mixed media. She joins us from Uganda as a provisional resident for a period of four weeks.

Resident Artist Leila Babiriye

Gadi Ramathan is a renowned print maker who currently happens to have his work at the Sanaa ya Makaratsi exhibition at the Nairobi National Museum. It is a group exhibition showcasing the works of some of the most creative artists in Africa. He is considered to be one of the youngest printmakers in East and Central Africa whose distinctive style always contained a concern for human issues and a reverence for natural beauty.

Kuona Trust Resident artist Gadi Ramadhani

Resource Centre

We are currently working on an online catalogue of the books in the library, to make it easier for people to access literature and other publications about art.

The Book of the Month is our very own “Thelathini: 30 Faces, 30 Facets”

Pulished by Kuona Trust  in 2003, this  book features an arts and culture throw-back as we reconnect with the art legends of the recent past.

Published in 2003 “Thelathini: 30 Faces, 30 Facets” was the first ever printed collection of contemporary Kenyan visual art. Assembled by members of the Kenyan arts community it was an introduction to contemporary artistic practice and an insight into the inspirations of many of East Africa’s best known artists of the time.

Consisting of artist interviews and more than 97 full colour plates, this book sought to present a glimpse into the kaleidoscope of Kenya’s contemporary visual art.

The Kuona art shop

Though relatively new the shop is growing steadily. We have new painting from the artists as well as unique new post cards. Thelathini is now on our shelves, it was published by Kuona Trust and has a biographies and pictures of some of the frontier artists on the Kenyan art scene. Few copies are available so make sure you get one!

Opportunities for artists

1. The European Capital of Culture

The  NGO Košice 2013 is running an international Artist-in-Residence  program for emerging artists from all over the world and out of all artistic disciplines and expressions.Three month residency in Kosice, Eastern Slovakia between February and December 2013
Free accommodation
Honorary, travelling and material costs provided.
Deadline: 20th of August 2012
send your application for the program before the 10th of September via emai l to adela.foldynova@kosice2013.sk

2. The Godown Arts Centre,Nairobi

The GoDown Arts Centre has engaged various city stakeholders on the topic of the City of Nairobi, around the theme“Conceiving a World Class African Metropolis,” (Vision 2030 Nairobi Metropolitan Area). It now seeks concept submissions. Selected submissions shall be facilitated for further development and will later be packaged and presented in EXPERIENCE NAIROBI 2013, a multi-sector, multi-disciplinary showcase of the City through exhibition, performance, installations, visual, audio-visual and digital expressions.

Experience Nairobi 2013 will run from May to July 2013.

3. Out Of the Circle arts residency

This residency is in an apartment in an Egyptian family building in Mohandessin area in the heart of great Cairo, Egypt. The apartment contains Out Of The Circle curator studio and two arts residency for visual artists (Egyptian and international female artists) of all media. The international artist gets a living space and a studio, with shared kitchen facilities and bathroom.

The artist has the possibility to stay for 3 to 6 months in 2013. Out of the Circle initiative supports also the management and exhibition of the artist’s project by the end of the residency.
For more information log in to: www.outofthecicle.org or send an email to info.outofthecircle@gmail.com

4. FLACC, Genk in Belgium

Open Call by FLACC for a artists and creates the conceptual, organizational and technical conditions for realizing unique artist projects.
When: Three month period or around 90 days divided over several periods between January 2014 till December 2014
Deadline: 1 September 2012

FLACC has metal and woodworking workshops, a digital studio (film and photography), and a foundry with a furnace and kilns for ceramics, bronze and glass applications, and an extensive workspace. The staff is knowledgeable about the production possibilities of nearby workplaces and collaborates with those workplaces and with schools and companies to give the artists the best possible support and assistance. An overview of all the facilities can be found here.

For more information contact Luuk Nouwen or Sarah Indeherberge at application@flacc.info.

5.Premio ORA

The award allows 40 internationa artists (emerging or mid-career) to have a solo show and a steady collaboration with one of the 40 active galleries participating in the project. Dealine 31/08/2012. For more information contact info@premio-ora.it or log on to http://www.premio-ora.it

6.Hotel Pro Forma

Hotel Pro Forma is an international laboratory of performance and installations. Perception, perspective and themes from the world are blended into a conceptual, visual and musical art form.
Atelier Hotel Pro Forma is now offering a unique opportunity to one or two professional artists with suitable projects. Applicants must therefore submit a concrete project proposal to develop during their residency.
The application deadline is 15 August 2012, and artists may begin at Hotel Pro Forma from the beginning of 2013, depending on the project and wishes of the individual artists.For more information log on to http://www.hotelproforma.dk. Applications should be sent to ba@hotelproforma.dk.

7. Bose Pacia

Bose Pacia invites artists to submit proposals for artist studio / residency use of the gallery space for six-week periods for October 2012 through March 2013. By turning the transitional gallery space into temporary artist studios on the ground-level in an active arts neighborhood, they are hoping to allow for an atmosphere of engagement and conversation around the creative process. Bose Pacia will arrange for a relevant studio visit for the artist at the end of his or her studio term and the public will be invited to stop in throughout the duration of the residency to see the artist in progress. Each studio residency term will culminate in an evening with the artist that will coincide with the monthly Dumbo First Thursday event. The program is open to artists of all media practices and we encourage innovative and experimental project proposals. Below we have listed additional information on eligibility and submission instructions.7. Bose Pacia
Dates of residencies:
-October 23, 2012 – December 18th (event: November 1st & December 6th closed Nov 22- 24)
-January 8, 2013 – February 16th (event: February 7th)
-February 19 – March 23rd (event: March 7th)

For more information loh on to: www.bosepacia.com

8. Pro Artibus AiR program

The planning of the residence program is of a long-term character and the first artists in residence will participate in the definition of the structure and formulation of the program. The Pro Artibus AiR program accepts 4-5 artists in residence in 2013. The residence period lasts 2-3 months.
The Pro Artibus Foundation offers the artists in residence a large furnished apartment at the campus of the Novia University of Applied Sciences in Ekenäs. A daily subsistence allowance of  36 EUR for 5 days/week is paid for the residence period and the trip to Ekenäs is compensated according to the most inexpensive form of transport. In addition to this the foundation offers a small production budget.

Freely formulated applications, along with project plan, CV and picture material in .jpg format shall be sent electronically to project leader Åsa Lönnqvist at asa.lonnqvist@proartibus.fi

Application deadline September 30th 2012.

9. The Bemis Center Chicago, IL

From the beginning, the art-making process has been the highest priority at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, where both the atmosphere and environment offer ideal situations for creative growth and experimentation. Artists from around the world come to the Bemis Center to work in this supportive community and confront new challenges.

This is a 3months programme where each artist is provided with a generously sized live/work studio with a private bathroom and 24 hour access to facilities including a wood shop, installation spaces, and a large sculpture fabrication facility.
Support $750 monthly stipend.

JULY 2013 – DECEMBER 2013
Application Deadline: September 30, 2012

Nairobi Now :: arts, culture and events

Date: August 12, 2012
Venue: the Jockey Club of Kenya
Tickets: Advance Adults Kshs 500 & Children (under12) Kshs 250 [Available at Ticketsasa]

Activities include: Live performances by Capital fm DJ’s, food & drinks on sale, Crafters and exhibitors

For more information visit their Facebook Page

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