Akili Dada Happy Hour at Kuona Trust-16th May 2013

akili dada

Akili Dada, a leadership incubator for young Kenyan women, is thrilled to be partnering with Kuona Trust, a centre for the visual arts in Kenya, for a Happy Hour event on Thursday, 16th May from 5:30-8pm at Kuona Trust’s beautiful garden space in Kilimani. In addition to mingling and enjoying the creative atmosphere of Kuona, a panel of speakers including Akili Dada Founder Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, artist and activist Boniface Mwangi, and others will engage attendees in a conversation on the theme “Arts, education, and the future of creativity in Kenya.” Beverages and bitings will be available to purchase. Cost of entry is 500 ksh at the door, which includes one free drink from the bar. Proceeds will support the work of Akili Dada.

Let us know you’re coming on Facebook! The event is open to the public, so please help us spread the word.

About Akili Dada
Akili Dada is a leadership incubator investing in the next generation of African women leaders.  We invest in high potential young women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change.  The main components of our program; scholarships, mentoring, and leadership training, are designed to work seamlessly together to provide underprivileged young women the essential preparation and qualifications they need to access key decision-making roles and leadership positions.  Learn more and join our community at www.akilidada.org

About Kuona Trust
Kuona Trust, Centre for Visual Art is dedicated to the generation, presentation and promotion of innovative contemporary visual arts practice in Kenya. Its artists’ studios, library, programme of exhibitions, artists’ talks, training & mentoring, education and international exchange, aims to provide opportunities for artists to develop new and experimental contemporary artwork within a context of international current practice. Kuona provides a platform for innovation through art and creativity. They act as a voice for over 500 artists, plus, thousands each year who benefit from our training and programmes. More at kuonatrust.org


Interview with international resident artist, Ivan Bwambale

Ivan Allan Bwambale studied sculpture at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts at Makerere University. After graduating in 2012 he became a lecturer in sculpture at the YMCA Comprehensive Institute, Kampala and has established himself as one of the master sculptural artists in Uganda.

He is on a four week international residency programme at Kuona Trust

Ivan Bwambale

Ivan Bwambale

Links: Facebook: Ivan Allan Bwambale

1.Tell us a bit about yourself?

I like  working with found objects.I believe in the philosophy that art should be used to create an impact on society.

I find beauty in ‘Ugly things’ and working with things people consider rejects.

One of the artworks made by Ivan

One of the artworks made by Ivan

2. What other interest do you have apart from art?

I love music and hiking and quite recently, fashion.

3. What has been your experience working at Kuona?

Kuona is very engaging.There are several artists whom one can  learn from.Its has been a very hands on residency and I have learn’t a lot form it.

4. What do you wish to communicate through your work?

My work is about social issues.I like having it represent different issues in society especially ones to do with the culture I happen to work in at the moment..I use scrap metal mostly from car parts,motor cycles and bicyles

5. What are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on a public art project called reflections and senses.It is an interactive installation  of a book that is 50X30 inches big.People are encouraged to write their views on issues affecting them such as overcoming tribalism and why they are proud to be Kenyans.

I this is very crucial to Kenya’s history at the moment and I hope it will foster peace in the country

The 'Big red book' public art project

The ‘Big red book’ public art project

6. What is your view of the Kenyan art scene?

It is a bit vibrant though there are a few cases of plagiarism here and there.Some artists here also seem to create art for commercial gain and not just entirely for self expression.

None the less there are  a lot of art centres in Kenya that promote art as compared to Uganda.It is a great initiative.

Ivan at the Manjano art exhibition in Nairobi

Ivan at the Manjano art exhibition in Nairobi

7. Are there any local artists you admire.

From Kuona Trust I like Gakunju  Kaigwa and Cyrus Kabiru.Kaigwa is very flexible in his work and sort of gives dimension to sculpture.Cyrus transforms ordinary day materials into what I call contemporary African masks with expressions that are unique to their kind.

I also like Benjamin Odoch’s work.They have robust forms and are heavily textured.

8. Would you say it’s possible to make a living through art as your only source of livelihood in Uganda?

It is possible because there is an art market.several artists have big investments financed by the art they do

9.Tell us about the KLA festival

KLA was the first of its kind arts festival held in Uganda.I am glad to have been part of it and emerging number 2 in the competition.It is good to take art from galleries and put  it where everyone can appreciate it.It created a new dimension in the way people perceive art in Uganda.

For more info on the festival click here.

Artwork by Ivan for the KLA ART festival

Artwork by Ivan for the KLA ART festival

10. Any advice to other upcoming artists?

Passion and experimentation is the key to becoming an extraordinary artist. If you do this you will come up with something that is individualistic and unique.

11.What should people look forward to from your residency at Kuona?

Currently to write on the big red book.

I will instruct a welding workshop organized and have an exhibition of all the writings from the public art project.

Connect with Kuona Trust

We as Kuona Trust  would love to hear from you,tell us about all the crazy and artistic things in your world.We would also want to keep you updated on  all our  events,workshops, exhibitions and opportunities for artists.


Kuona trust

Past events at Kuona Trust


    Become a friend of Kuona by liking our page on face book or adding us as your friends: Visit http://www.facebook.com/kuonatrust



You can also follow us on twitter! Our twitter handle is Kuona_Trust


Before I die….

Those of you who have been at Kuona have most probably taken time to write on the  chalk board beside the building with the words ‘Before I die..’

Before I Die is a global art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public space. This project was started by Candy Chang on an abandoned house in New Orleans after she lost someone she loved. Learn more here.

The Kuona wall has been up since December lat year and has just been added to the site that shows  many such walls  existing  around the world.

To view the Kuona wall and also know about how you can initiate such a project ,click here.

Image of the Befor I die wall taken by Veruschka Bohn

Image of the Befor I die wall taken by Veruschka Bohn

Kuona Trust March Newsletter

Kuona Trust Newsletter

New artists in residence

As part of Kuona Trust’s  efforts to facilitate the exchange of ideas in the arts community, we welcome two new resident artists in the art space, Ivan who is a sculptor from Uganda and Joseph Weche who is a painter from Kenya and works with the Wajukuu arts center in Mukuru.

These residents will be on board and available for the next four weeks. We will host open studio events and workshops facilitated by each of these artists,so feel free to pass by and interact with them.


Ivan Bwambale

Joseph Weche

New artists

Three more artists join us this month: Dickson Kaloki, Ulrich Zeisluffti and William Brown otherwise known as Uhuru.

Keep a look out for the artists’ profiles and art work on our website www.kuonatrust.org


Some of the artists at Kuona Trust have been conducting a series of mentorship sessions at the  University of Nairobi. The art and design students taking a unit on African art were able to interact with the artists who talked bout their work process and the challenges of being an artist in Kenya.

The artists who have participated thus far include master portrait artist Ermias Ekube, renowned sculptor Kevin Oduor,glass artist Tonney Mugo and Jacqueline Karuti one of the young artists at Kuona who works as a visual and performance artist.

Kevin oduor

Kevin oduor

Tonney Mugo giving a talk on the design process

Tonney Mugo giving a talk on the design process



Vershuka Bohn

Veruschka Bohn works as a  photographer, filmmaker, illustrator and a dancer.She is one of the few versatile female artists in the arts industry today who has managed to work in several forms,pushing social and stereotypical boundaries yet appearing to be very comfortable in all her techniques. 

In her presentation at Kuona Trust she had the opportunity to show her work with the other artists,share her ideas as well as answer questions about her present and future  aspirations.

To read more on  Veruschka Bohn’s work click here.

Veruschka Bohn talking about her work during the presentation

Veruschka Bohn talking about her work during the presentation


Art2bebody-introduction to body mapping by Xavier Verhoest

Art2Be is composed of a group of Kenyan and International visual artists and therapists based in Nairobi.  They work with marginalized groups and  professional health staff in to foster positive, healthy living and social change.

Xavier is one of the co founders of the organization Art2Be and has assisted in facilitating several creative and therapeutic programmes in the commmunity.During his presentation,he was able to explain how the programme has impacted the community, the milestones they have covered since its inception and the challenges they face.

For more information on Art2be and how you can get involved with the organizatin, please visit http://www.art2bebodymaps.com/

One of the body mapping programme  participants

One of the body mapping programme participants

Xavier Verhoest

Xavier Verhoest

Pubic art presentation by Mutheu Mbondo

Public art as Mutheu Mbondo would put it is simply art that is in the public space. These works art are usually placed in a public place to allow the public to actively interact with them. In most cases its aimed at passing a message, creating conversations around a certain topic or even purely for entertainment.

While public art is prominent in most parts of the world, it is yet to catch on in Kenya mostly due to difficulties in obtaining permits from the city council. This ambitious young lady is however set on changing the public art scene in Nairobi by engaging artist in creating artwork.

In her presentation,Mutheu challenged the artists to work with her in doing more public art projects in and around Nairobi even with the current challenges in funding and lack of support from the local authorities.


Kuona Trust’s new funky T-shirts

Our current edition of the Kuona shirt is now available in the shop for a discounted price of KSh 500 bob for adults and Ksh 400 for kids. Hurry up and get yourself one in this limited edition print.

We are now selling easels. Painting will  be much easier once you get yourself  one of these.Pass by the shop and get yourself one.You may also place an order.

 Life drawing workshop

Kuona Trust has started a series of workshops every fortnight, taught by some of our best portrait artists Ermias ekube,Yassir Ali, Fed Abuga among others.

The class is on every second Saturday. For a small fee, participants are taught how to work with pencil and charcoal as a beginners class and further graduate to a more advanced class.

To reserve a place or get more information please call us on 0721262326

life drawing workshop with Ermias Ekube

life drawing workshop with Ermias Ekube

ermias life drawing (6)

Friends of the Arts exhibition at ISK (The international school of Kenya)

The annual FOTA art show and sale organized by the ISK took place between  the 5th and the 8th of   April 2013. It showcased the works of over 100 artists who took part in the exhibition.All profits from the show went to fostering collaboration between local artists and children.

The Manjano art competition

Once again a Kuona Trust artist scooped the top price at this year’s Manjano Art Exhibition. Wycliff Opondo won first prize clinching a cool Ksh 300,000 followed by Ermias Ekube who won second place and was awarded Ksh 150,000.Last year, Kuona artist Omosh Kindeh was the big winner of the annual competition.

The exhibition was organized  with the support of the Godown arts center and is aimed at portraying artistic expressions that explores the human interest aspect of the city of Nairobi. Artists were asked to submit paintings, sculptures and mixed media work that would be entered into the competition.

Wycliff Opondo

Wycliff Opondo

Ermias Ekube recieving his cash pize

Ermias Ekube recieving his cash pize

SWAN day

SWAN day (Support Women Artist Now day) is an international holiday to celebrate the creativity of women artist. Kuona trust celebrated the sixth annual SWAN day in a two day event that took place at the Phoenix Theatre on the 30th of March and Kuona Trust on the 31st of March 2013.The day was a roaring success with artists doing spoken word, dance and music performances. Some craft vendors were also on site selling some of their items. We also had a special book reading by Eva Kasaya , a young woman who rose from being a house help to an interpreter and wrote the book ‘Tale of Kasaya’ published by Kwani trust in the year 2010.

Some of the artists who participated in the event included Tabitha Wa Thuku, Maggie Otieno,Veronica Wanjeri,  Lydiah Dola, and Masallah among others

Core sponsors included  Kuona Trust, Phoenix Theatre, Do A Little Fund, Women Arts, Ghetto Exposed, Grandpa Records and KCOMNET.

kuona trust/swan


The SWAN ladies getting their groove on

The SWAN ladies getting their groove on

Kuona trust outreach programs

Kuona trust is involved in many community outreach programmes that aim at getting art back into the community. We have partnered with several organizations who assist in making this happen. One of our artists Maryanne Muthoni is currently working with a rehabilitation home for boys in Kabete teaching them various ways of expressing themselves artistically.

kuona outreach

kuona programmes

The Sane Wadu Centre, based in Naivasha is also working with the local community, which mostly includes young adults, in various genres of the visual arts including painting and printmaking.

We have also partnered with Shabu Mwangi of Wajukuu art center in Mukuru slum.He is also currently working with people from the surrounding community, teaching them  basics art techniques.

Cyrus Kabiru 2013 TED fellow

TED is one of the most talked about shows in the planet hands down! It not only shows some of the most innovative and creative minds but also inspires new techniques and technology.

Their main mandate is to share some of the best ideas people have come up with hence their slogan’ Ideas worth sharing’. For the year 2013, TED chose one of the Kuona artists to be part of this conference. Cyrus Kabiru’s use of recycled material to make aesthetic pieces of artwork has gained him worldwide recognition.

photo (1)

Cyrus Kabiru with other TED fellows during a tour

Cyrus Kabiru with other TED fellows during a tour

He travelled to San Francisco where he met with other TED fellows including the young Kenyan Maasai boy who found a way of keeping lions from attacking their cattle at night using flashlights.Read more.

Richard Turere

Richard Turere


1.Exhibition: How I see politics by James Mbuthia

Venue: One off gallery

Dates: 7th -24th  April

2. Exhibition: Works by Sudanese artist  Abushariaa Ahmed

Venue: Red Hill Art gallery between Banana Hill and Ngecha Village

Dates: Now till the end of April 2013

Contacts: Mobile + 254 700 108989

3.Exhibition: Works by Gor Soudan at the Talisman restaurant from 16th April- 7th May 2013


1. ArtGemini £5,000 cash prizes 

The ArtGemini Prize is a celebration to promote international contemporary art for emerging and established artists around the world.

It is an independent competition, open to all artists from anywhere in the world. There is no age limit for applicants. The winners will be announced at an exhibition of the finalists’ works in London.

In addition, selected artists will have the opportunity to showcase and sell their works in London while supporting our selected charity

2. The 2013 Mask prize: Kenyan Art competition for young people

 Please be advised that the 2013 MASK ART PRIZE, the annual national art competition in Kenya, is now open to

  • any Kenyan school (state or private, polytechnics, colleges and universities), and
  • any young person up to the age of 25  who lives in Kenya or is a member of the Kenya diaspora.

Enter the artworks to win Prizes and exhibit at the Nairobi National Museum in June 2013 and the SaatchiGallery in London in September 2013.

Deadline: 1st March 2013

Prizes include:

  • The three best artists will be awarded a prize of Ksh 55,000 each, and one of them – a trip to London.
  • One schoolwith the best and highest number of artworks entered, will be awarded a year’s supply of art materials worth Ksh 100,000.
  • The winning artists and the representatives of the winning school will be invited to the Prize-Giving Ceremony in Nairobi on 11th June 2013.

ENTER for FREE any number of artworks (paintings, drawings, prints, collages, or works made
out of recycled materials) on paper, canvas, or boards on the theme ‘What makes you proud about Kenya’, not smaller than A4 (30x21cm) or larger than A1 (85x60cm).

Picture of the week

Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time~ Pablo picasso

A life size kite soaring into the sky during the smART power project with Miguel Luciano

A life size kite soaring into the sky during the smART power project with Miguel Luciano

POPCAP is a prize for contemporary African photography


POPCAP is a prize for contemporary African photography that is awarded to photographic portfolios dealing with African themes. Submissions will be judged by a panel ofseventeen internationally-sourced judges, with the winning entries publicly exhibited before and during Art Basel 44 and at PhotoIreland 2013, at LagosPhoto and the winner’s photographic collection presented in European Photography magazine.

> The top 5 entries will be exhibited during Art Basel

> The top 5 entries will be on exhibited as part of PhotoIreland 2013

The top 5 entries will be on exhibited as part of LagosPhoto 2013
> The top 5 entries are considered to get published in European Photography

> The top 5 entries will be included in the piclet.org artists directory

The competition is open to photographers of any age and descent. Eligible submissions are visual narratives comprising between 10 and 25 images, and must relate to an African theme. There is no entry fee. The winners are selected by 18 internationally renowned judges.

POPCAP ’13 – About

POPCAP was awarded for the first time in 2012, with five winners chosen from 140 submissions by a panel of nine internationally-sourced judges. This year the five chosen works will be presented to both the international arts community and the general public during Art Basel 44 as well as at PhotoIreland 2013. During POPCAP ‘13 we will aim to maintain a constant discourse regarding African topics through public events running alongside the exhibition, with the overall objective of enhancing awareness of African themes in the arts. Due to its extensive application in a day-to-day context, we consider photography to be the ideal medium from which to foster an unhindered exchange of ideas. Atpiclet.org we are interested in the idea of bringing networking back into the real world via social media and events such as POPCAP ‘13.piclet.org was launched in 2009 by Berlin-based media artist Benjamin Fuglister as an international online portal for the presentation of contemporary photographers’ portfolios and as an international directory of important festivals, creative publications and institutions for photography.

For more info visit http://www.piclet.org/home/POPCAP–13-About.html

Up close & Candid with artist of the week Omosh Kindeh

Omosh Kindeh

Omosh Kindeh

Name:    Omosh Kindeh

Links: http://kuonatrust.org/omosh-kindeh/

1.Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is omosh kindeh. I have been an artist for 13 years.

2. What other interest do you have apart from art?

Well..am quite an observer and that is my biggest inspiration as an artist.

3. For how long have you been at Kuona and what has been your experience?

I joined Kuona in March 2000. In  2004 I left Kuona to join an association with other artist based at Mamba Village but I came back again in 2008.

Kuona trust has given me more exposure.The community kind of life at Kuona has also made me see more advantages in the art industry.

4. Your work seems  to revolve around buildings, why is that so?

Yes, I grew up in a ‘civilized’ location where all buildings we similar and no flat buildings were around the homestead. I got to see flat houses in my adulthood and the perception I had about those living in them is that as they were the richest in the society.

Painting by Omosh Kindeh

Painting by Omosh Kindeh

5. What are you currently working on?

I am painting some corner area around my hood in eastlands.

One of the previous works by Omosh

One of the previous works by Omosh

6. What is your view of the Kenyan art scene?

We need to educate the locals on appreciating art. We also need to open up more avenues to showcase art. However, compared to 5  years ago, I can see rapid growth in the art scene. Artists need to be selfish and refuse to be controlled by the market.

7. Tell us about M/eat the artist.

This was an idea that Dennis Muraguri, Gor Sudan, Els and Meshack Oiro came up with. They wanted to broaden the art market, let artists known and create an avenue where artists serve their clients better than it was before. Art was showcased in artists’ home or friends of artists’ homes.

Omosh Kindeh during one of the m/eat the artist sessions

Omosh Kindeh and guests during one of the m/eat the artist sessions

8. Would you say it’s possible to make a living through art as your only source of livelihood in Kenya?

It is possible to make a living out of art but it comes with many challenges. At the initial stages in the art industry it is tough but as you go into the art scene, it gets easy.

9. You won last year’s Manjano exhibition-how was that like and what do you think of this year’s selection?

Last year I was caught by surprise when I was pronounced winner of the Manjano Exhibition. I worked on the 2 pieces for 4 days. This year’s Manjano Exhibition winner,Wycliff Opondo deserved the price. Purple captures moments and the ghetto story behind Wiki’s painting. When wiki was working on the piece we would sit, talk and remind ourselves of life in ghetto.

Wycliff Opondo,this year's Manjano exhibition winner

Wycliff Opondo,this year’s Manjano exhibition winner

10. Any advice to other upcoming artists?

Practice perseverance and be hardworking.