‘Tea for 216’ is a showcase of works by Miriam Kings drawn from her journey through Kirinyaga County.
The photographs show the beauty of Kirinyaga district that is rich with red-coloured soil and valleys filled with vegetation around the foothills of Mount Kenya.
They also depict subjects, such as sufrias and colorful buckets, which are symbolic of the role of women in nourishing the community through cooking, cleaning, and teaching.
This exhibition traces a journey back into Kabare, a community in Kirinyaga district where I spent seven years of my childhood. The photos and video were taken at the local girls boarding school, a theological college library, homes and shambas of old family friends.
When visiting homes of old family friends, I was shown photo albums that included a few photos of my family when we lived in Kabare. Looking at the photos I saw myself as an ‘Other’ through the lens of Kenyan families, that provided me with a new insight into myself. From this complex moment, I saw an opportunity to unpack a myriad of threads in history.
Initially, I took a few pictures of old photo albums only to show family back home. But as a I looked closer, I saw flashes of a deep disturbing colonial legacy which I felt compelled to share. In one example chosen it pictures, two ‘wazungu’ children sitting near the center of a wedding photo, both holding the larger flower baskets. Why did we have larger flower baskets in contrast to the smaller or lack of flowers the other bridesmaids had? Was it because we could afford to buy them or because we were chosen to hold them?
I’m interested in the utility of art, the aesthetic providing a dialogue on subjects that are taboo, contentious, and not examined in public consciousness/conversation due to sensitive or delicate nature
Miriam is an artist and curator born in London who lived in Kenya from 1984-1991.Both her artistic and political interests are related to issues of human geography and community formation.
The photographs will be on display in the Kuona gallery from the 10th- 15th July 2013.
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