September 2012 Newsletter

Continuing Events

“Sekaplastic in Kenya” an exhibition by International resident artist Collin Sekajugo

Collin Sekajugo explores the world of plastic in his exhibition that showcases the use of recycled plastic to make aesthetic pieces of art. After spending 4 years of studying discarded plastic as an art material, he has acquainted himself with an indisputable fact that plastic is a commodity that we here in Africa can’t live without to this day. It’s affordable, user friendly, sustainable, and recyclable.

Whereas it’s a material that is commonly, found in all home use environments, it conflicts with our environment are either underrated or overrated. And it’s with this very conflict that Collin as a mixed media artist discovered a new approach on how to turn discarded plastic into beauty by incorporating it into his artwork styles.

The exhibition opened on the 7th of September and will run through to the 20th of September 2012. It not only showcases the artist’s work but also that of participants of a found objects workshop he taught.

Sekaplastic in Kenya Exhibition at Kuona Trust

Samosa Festival

Kuona Trust has partnered with the organizers of the Samosa festival to create art pieces that will be showcased during their annual SAMOASA festival this year.

SAMOSA   which stands for South Asian Mosaic of Society and the Arts is a biennial cultural platform which blends culture, music, poetry, art and drama to convey messages related to the cohesion and integration of Kenyan society in a creative and expansive manner. It showcases the best of Kenyan culture by bringing together elements from Africa, the East, and the West through an intermingling of various traditional and contemporary interpretations of music, movement, and art.

The festival runs for 8 days from the 22nd to the 29th of September 2012 and promises participants a thrilling experience. Join us on the 27th of September at Karura Forest to view the best of Kenyan art by Kuona trust sculptures.

 Film is Fun Workshop by Mutua Matheka and Stephen Kitoto

Mutua Matheka is a young Kenyan photographer who has taken it upon himself to re-visualize the face of Nairobi. He is renowned for putting Nairobi on the Map for his cityscapes that have been published by BBC News Africa’s In Pictures, Nation Newspaper and on Zuqka, a local weekly pull out of the Daily Nation Newspaper.

Matheka and Stephen Kitoto will be facilitating a photography workshop at Kuona Trust on the 15th of September 2012 from 10am-12pm.

Film is FUN Photography workshop to be held at Kuona Trust on the 15th of September 2012


Feedback on “The Woman’s Vote” Exhibition

We are quite impressed by the feedback we got from the public after the Woman’s Vote exhibition by Kuona artist Maryanne Muthoni. We had several journalists do articles and news pieces on the concept behind the importance of the woman and her vote in modern society. Among them was BBC news who interviewed Maryanne during their morning show ‘Amka Na BBC’. She described the idea behind the concept and what she wishes the general public would learn from it.To hear the interview please click here.

We also had a group of young adults from St Aloysius Gonzaga from Kibera come in. They had an interactive panel discussion with Maryanne and had the privilege of taking part in voting in the booth that was installed as part of the exhibition.

For those who took part in the interactive voting exercise, keep checking the blog for the final verdict.

Students from St. Aloysius Gonzaga taking part in voting

‘Unhidden’ Children’s Exhibition

The person who came up with the phrase that age is just a number may have actually had his claims legitimized. Those who managed to come to the children’s exhibition can attest to the fact that talent is found in even the youngest of artists.

One girl, Shiro Wachira, single handedly organized an exhibition showing the works of about fourty artists from the Aga Khan High school, all below the age of 18 years. Art lovers bid on the masterpieces and were able to go home with artworks from some great upcoming artists in exchange of a monetary gift donated to the Mobile Art School of Kenya.

Shiru Wachira wrote:

Overall, the exhibition was a success: 26, 800/= was raised in support of the Mobile Arts’ School of Kenya, we managed to sell 7 of the 30 pieces displayed and one of our artists was even approached by several guests who wanted to commission private works. The support of the Kuona Trust was an invaluable contribution to the event and the organisers, as well as the young artists, remain indebted to the Trust for their generosity and applaud their commitment to promoting art in Kenya.

In concluding, we hope that what all our guests, and those who supported us in spirit, remember that this exhibition was barely the tip on the iceberg and that there is an abundance of artistic potential among Kenyan teenagers that is yearning for greater support.


Events at Kuona

Soul Voyage

On the 1st of September, jazz enthusiasts were given an unbelievable treat. Throne Africa organized a jazz festival at Kuona Trust with entertainment being provided by the famous Throne Quartet who combined acoustic sounds and mixing tunes on the turntables which was a unique combination. It offered people an opportunity to enjoy good music in a creative and artistic background. They had access to the artist’s studios and had a chance to interact with them and be inspired by their creativity.

Throne Quartet band at Soul Voyage Jazz festival

Craft Africa

Zachary Muturi Kimotho is one man whose name will go down in  history as a hero. His story is that of courage and resilience to see his dream for his country come true. He set out on a mission to make a journey to South Africa on his wheelchair in order to raise funds to build a spinal cord rehabilitation center in Kenya.

Though his dream has not yet come true, several organizations have come forth to give to this worthy cause. Craft Africa was one such event that was held at Kuona trust. Different vendors put up stalls selling their craft to those who came out in support of the campaign. Zack made an appearance, which happened to be his first public speech since he set out for South Africa. He shared his experience as well as his open for this country.

Zachary Muturi of Bring Zack Back at Craft Africa fundraiser

Kaz Lucas, the MC at Zack Back fundraising event held at Kuona Trust

People viewing art at Kuona Trust during the craft Africa fundraiser

Found objects Workshop by Collin Sekajugo

 Collin Sekajugo came to Kuona as part of our International residency program that aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas amongst artists from all over the world.

Sekajugo was able to open our eyes to the different possibilities of using found objects, and especially plastic as a medium of creating artwork. He taught a 3 day workshop drawing an eager group of participants who made pieces that were later displayed in Collin’s exhibition.

A participant during the found objects workshop at Kuona trust

A participant during the found objects workshop at Kuona trust

Gadi Ramadhani Monoprint workshop

We had master print maker Gadi Ramadhani on residency for four weeks. He was able to interact with the artists and engage them to venture into new techniques in mono print. He was also interviewed by the BBC as well as the Daily nation newspaper. During his residency, Gadi taught a print making workshop to participants who made prints that they then displayed at the end of the workshop.

Gadi has made a tremendous contribution to the space especially by getting our printing press up and running. It is now accessible to all artists and art students who may wish to make use of it.These arrangements can be made directly  through the Kuona office.

Gadi Ramadhani and participants during a monoprint workshop at Kuona Trust

A participant using the printing press

Wangui W. and Gadi Ramadhani using the printing press

Leilah Babiriye’s  Residency

One of the sculptures that stands tall in Kuona’s sculptural garden is that of Leilah Babiriye from Uganda, who is a brilliant sculpture having her work in various galleries in Uganda.

She was able to pass on her artistic skills through exchanges with various artists at Kuona Trust. Leilah formed strong bonds with other sculptors in the space, they were able to challenge one another considering their different perceptions on sculpting, and the mediums they incorporate in their artwork.

Leilah Babiriye’s sculpture at Kuona Trust

Residents open studio

At the end of our residency program, we invited the public to a two day  open studio where they got to meet the resident artists, view their work as well as exchange ideas and experiences.

Weaver Bird Festival

The story of the Weaver Bird Festival is all about Collin Sekajugo’s dream of building an appreciation for art. He has taken up the challenge of transforming a an entire village into an arts community. Located in Masaka, Kampala the weaver bird community have come up with self sustainable ways to make a living through making crafts and artwork.

Members of the Kuona Office  had the chance to attend the  first of its kind Weaver Bird festival 2012. It was a three day festival that drew artists and art lovers from different cornors of the continent. The fire and camping set up was a refreshing experience  from the banners and tents we are accustomed to in art festivals here in Kenya.We got to mingle with the community and do various workshops with them amidst the other full programme they had with upcoming musicians and bicycle races that had every one’s full attention.

With no donor, funding Sekajugo has single handedly managed to build a sculpture park, camping site, a resident’s house and a children’s library all with the aim of trying to open up the village to the world. He  hopes to collaborate with other organizations such as 32 degrees east in Uganda and Kuona trust in Kenya.

Other than the annual weaver bird festival, Collin also organizes art camps for various artists who are given a platform to engage and share ideas.

Shiru Githunguri,a fellow  artist and founder of mystiq Breed tells of her experience having attended previous art camps and the Weaver Bird Festival.Read the article from the Mysiq breed blog.


Camp site at the Weaver Bird Festival

Children standing infront of their master piece after a grafitti art workhop

Participants of the Bicycle race

A sign board that leads people to the Ndegeya Sculptural Park

Creative mapping

Kuona Trust was graced with the honour of hosting the Permanent Secretary for information Hon. Bitange Ndemo and dignitaries from the technology firm giant IBM in the creative center mapping project.

Kuona will be one of the centres put on the Kenyan map as a creative centre. This is aimed at promoting the appreciation of arts and culture in Kenya as well as creating a marketing tool for the Tourism industry. This is a good gesture considering the fact that art was removed from the public school curriculum a few years back and is only offered in tertiary institutions. The public is beginning to appreciate that one can make a living through art and that it actually adds value to the society.

Sylivia Gichia,Director of Kuona Trust with P.S Bitange Ndemo viewing art at Kuona Trust

P.S Bitange Ndemo with artists at Kuona Trust

Sylvia Gichia,insert with dignitaries from IBM

Presentations from Mutheu Mbondo and Brian Omolo

Brian Omolo is an artist, an Illustrator, and a graphic designer who is passionate about creativity. He specializes in web design, branding and advertising. Brian got the opportunity to exchange his ideas with the artists and talk about ways in which they can collaborate.

Mutheu Mbondo who runs the UCD network took us through the workings of the organization and how they intend to work with visual artists such as those at Kuona. She had a panel discussion with a dancer from Sarakasi Trust who is beneficiary of the programs organized by the network.

The United Cultures for Development (UCD) is a network made up of cultural and development organisations from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe whose goal is to enhance the sustainability of  partner organisations through cultural and social entrepreneurship as well as professionalism of the sector. The network does this through capacity building activities; fostering cultural entrepreneurship; exchanges; lobby and advocacy.

Briam Omolo giving a powerpoint presentation at Kuona Trust

Mutheu Mbondo and a performance artist from Sarakasi Trust

Special Press  coverage of artists at Kuona Trust

International journalist Roopa Gogineni reporting for Voice of America did a news piece on the challenges facing young artists in the Kenyan art scene. She spent a day at Kuona Trust and had the chance to interview some of the staff and artists. To read the article and watch the interview click here.

Book of the Month:  Naturally!

In line with the found objects workshop and the theme of the Sekaplastic exhibition, our featured book of the month is ‘Naturally!’. This is a book by artist/author Anu Tuominen, who is greatly influenced by the objects and events around her. She shifts our focus to the everyday objects we find in our environment that can be transformed into beautiful pieces of art. Visit the Kuona library to read this and be inspired.

Opportunities for artists

1. 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.

2. 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:  or send an email to

3. Bose Pacia residency

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.

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:

4. 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

Application deadline: September 30th 2012.

5. The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Chicago

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.

Programme dates : July 2013 – December 2013
Application Deadline: September 30, 2012

6. Music, photo and videoeos competition

Connect4Climate, in collaboration with MTV and TerrAfrica, invites you to enter Voices4Climate, our latest competition for the best climate/environmental music, photo and videos!
Winning entries will be featured at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP18) in Doha, Qatar in December 2012.
All entries must be received by 11:59pm EST, October 15, 2012.
Share your stories now for a chance to win cool prizes and the chance to travel to New York, London, or Doha!

For more informations:

To submit your entry:

If you need further information please contact me here:

We are waiting for your creativity!

7. The George Washington University Resident Artist/Scholar Program

January 14 – June 30, 2013, Washington,

Columbian College of Arts, and Sciences at The George Washington University (GW) offers an Arts Fellowship available to support a mid-career artist and/or scholar. Fields may include, but are not limited to the following: visual arts, performance art, musical composition or performance, filmmaking, creative writing, theatre, dance, and scholars in the arts.
The Resident Artist/Scholar Fellow will be provided with a stipend ($30,000.00), a modest studio/office on the Foggy Bottom Campus, as well as a creative project/research fund (up to $5,000.00) to cover expenses directly related to the realization of the work done while in residence. The Fellow is expected to be in residence in Washington, DC, at GW during the term of the fellowship (January 14 – June 30, 2013). Deadline for receipt of application for the Resident Artist/Scholar Fellowship is September 14, 2012. To apply, send:

· Summary of proposal (150 words)
· Extended creative project/research proposal (1-3 pages)
· Samples of past creative project/research samples related to proposal via URL or website (include link at the end of Summary)
· CV/Resume

Email above information to Geralyn Schultz, Associate Dean for Research ( Please type GW Resident Artist/Scholar Program in the subject line.


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