Interview with Sarah Schoderer on her work and life as an artist

Sarah Schoderer,  KUTEVEVA-Blurred perspectives

Name:    Sarah Schoderer

City/Country:   Frankfurt, Germany

Sarah Schoderer

Sarah Schoderer

  • Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I have studied fine art at the art academy of Frankfurt (Städelschule) and Mainz, Germany. I am a painter and sculptor. My main emphasize is to reflect on our society today through painting and sculpting. I often compare my still life with those of the Barock time.  The Barock painter chose significant objects of his time and so do I. My paintings often reflect on art history in general.

How did the ideal of beauty develop? I work mostly in series; one series was about mundane daily objects which I painted almost in an abstract way. I was very much influenced by the pop art but I wanted to reflect in a dialectical way on our commercialized society. I used the idea of painting as a medium which gives value to the painted objects in a dialectical way to the very banal objects.

Since 2012 I have been focusing on how the idea of beauty developed and how art historically might have influenced how we look at beauty.

Here in Kenya I was very much impressed on the contrasts that I saw here, contrasts between poor and rich, modernity and tradition, etc… The works I have done here reflect in a very personal way on this impressions.

  • How did you decide to become an artist?
    I was raised in a family where everyone was into art. My father used to write poems, my mother painted and later, my step father is became a violin and piano teacher. Art was the only thing which really fascinated me, I cannot think of myself doing anything apart from art.

Sara Schoderer

  • What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
    I don´t remember, because I have spoken to so many incredible clever people, every person, doesn’t matter if they´re artists or not, have influenced me in their own way…..
  • Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?
    I don´t have any answers to this…..I don´t know…..!
  • Who are some of the Nairobi/ Kenyan artists you enjoy?
    I am very new to the art scene here, so I was mostly inspired by the artists that I met at Kuona Trust. I enjoyed all of them, each in a different way…
  • If I were to follow you around to see art in Nairobi, which places would we go? What would we see?
    Kuona Trust, the Go-Down, Goethe Institute – Nairobi National Museum. Alliance Francaise
  • In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
    I check out galleries and museums all over the world. There is no limit!! I think the Dokumenta in Kassel/ Germany as well as the Venice Biennial are some of the most important exhibitions of contemporary art.  MOMA PS1 in New York, etc….
  • Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
    Tomorrow.  My Exhibition “KUTEVEVA-Blurred perspectives” is currently on going at the Kuona Trust gallery till the 1st of October.
Opening of Kuteveva at Kuona Trust

Open night for the exhibition Kuteveva in the Kuona Trust gallery

  • What can we expect to see from you in the future?
    Hopefully good art!!! 😉

Up close and Candid with Mike Kyalo

Mike Kyalo

Mike Kyalo is currently  on a 4 week residency programme at Kuona Trust art Centre courtesy of the Kenya Arts Diary. He talks about his work and a bit of his background history as an artist.

I am a Kenyan born artist based at the GoDown Art Centre .I specialize in painting. My primary  focus is on current issues and my interpretation  of the environment in terms of ideas and color . There is quite a bit of focus on Shadows in some of my paintings ,its intensity differs depending on what I want to achieve.

My source of inspiration is the day to day socio-economic activities affecting the society, especially men and the changes in  weather. With men my interest lies in their body language, their composition and the seriousness they portray while at work.

I have worked in dry pastels, oil , acrylic ,chalk and charcoal on paper, cardboard and canvas.

My work has been exhibited in several group exhibitions at the GoDOWN art centre, Paa ya Paa, Village, Alliance Francaise among others

 In 2012, I won second prize in the “Experiencing Heritage Through Art ” competition organized by the Nairobi National Museum, for the painting ”Utumisishi Kwa Wote” which they later added to the museum’s collection of art work. 

Art work by Mike Kyalo


Traces (1)

Traces is a one of a kind exhibition by two master print makers, Wcycliffe Opondo and Anki Kallstrom who have redefined and challenged our understanding of the age long technique. Anki’s work is an output of a two month residency programme at Kuona Trust during which she taught a workshop and had an exhibition dubbed ‘Discoveries Within’. Wycliffe is an artist currently based at Kuona Trust.

Read the artists’ biographies below.

Ann-Kristin Källström

Born 1958 in Stockholm, Swedish artist Ann-Kristin Källström has had exhibitions in Sweden, Germany, Italy, USA a o. Recently, she has spent a 2 months recidency at Kuona Trust Art Centre, Nairobi where she gave a serie of printmaking workhops and made several researchs with found objects letting her to improvise  and produce prints from the locally available resources. Through her walks, Ann-Kristin started to collect objects in the streets of Nairobi that captured her imagination and curiosity and created prints using the shape, volume and forms of these found/garbage objects.

The result of these experimentation is exceptionnal. These delicate and exquisite prints using the intaglio printmaking technique whith fabric from the Toi market (Kibera) tells us something about where we live and who we are. They are infinite marks of everyday objects inscribed in the past, they are in their fragility and mortality indirect traces of our beings.

Anki facilitating a workshop during her residency at Kuona

Anki facilitating a workshop during her residency at Kuona


Wycliffe is a self-taught artist from Nairobi. He participated in a number of exhibitions, workshops and exchanges including Sweden. For the past several years, he has been learning and using various printing techniques and became one the most skilled Kenyan artist in this field.

The images shown here are inspired by the period when the artist lived and worked in Kibera. The railway was his favorite since it symbolizes the irony of straight parallel lines cutting right through the organized chaos that makes up the slum of Kibera. These refined works shown at Le Rustique capture the environment of the people within Kibera in a very subtle way. A place that, despite many challenges, has its concealed beauty.

One of the print works done by Wycliffe Opondo

One of the print works done by Wycliffe Opondo

 The exhibition is showing at the Lerustique restaurant till the 20th of October 2013

Kuona Trust July Newsletter

Newsletter July 2013

Absolut Art


Absoult Vodka  partnered with Kuona Trust to bring together  the first premier pop art party in Kenya. Six Kuona artists, Dickson Kaloki, Omosh Kindeh, Beth Kimwele,Paul Onditi and Kevin Oduor battled it out in a art competition aimed at creating the best artistic expression on the iconic absolute bottle.

Absolut Art

Final pieces from each of the participants of the Absolut Art competition

Kevin Oduor emerged the winner of the Ksh 50,000 cash prize  for what the judges thought was the most innovative idea. Omosh Kindeh and Sidney Mang’ong’o took second and third place.

Kevin Oduor- Absolut Balnk

Kevin Oduor receiving the cash prize for the best overall design

 The Creative Garages’s Pitstop

pitstop 2

One of the challenges most creatives face is the clear  lack of information in an industry that has been neglected for many years but non the less thrived without government support. To bridge the gap between creatives and various organizations in the arts, the Creatives Garage organized a one day creatives clinic that aims at having all questions answered as well as giving people knowledge on various issues such as copyrights, patents,opportunities available and how they can plug into their activities

Core partners included Wylde International, MCSK ( Music society of Kenya, Copyright board, ICT board, Kuona Trust, PAWA 254, Craft Afrika and Story moja.

Joram Mwinamo, Managing partner at Wylde International speaking on enterprenuership

Joram Mwinamo, Managing partner at Wylde International speaking on entrepreneurship

The Kuona Trust stand during the event

The Kuona Trust stand during the event

The event was a roaring success as those who attended not only got their questions answered but they had the chance to interact with other creatives in different fields and see some great art at Kuona.

The Kuona legacy

Our history is our identity and reminds us the purpose of our existence. Kuona Trust has finally come of age and has  finalized documenting its legacy 18 years on. Read about the genesis of the organization, its founder and how it all came together by following any of the links below:

Discoveries within Exhibition

Anki--final-poster FB

Often times we underestimate the much we could achieve when we dedicate our minds to a process. A group of artists under the instruction of Swedish print maker Anki Kollstrom, discovered a whole new way of applying the intaglio print making technique in a week long workshop at Kuona Trust .Anki was on a two month residency programme at Kuona Trust during which she taught two workshops, one of which was quite successful and participants got to show their work in the exhibition alongside their instructor.

Anki and other participants during the workshop

Anki and other participants during the workshop

During the exhibition, Anki was able to talk about her own work, where she experimented with new materials, mainly found objects she got from the neighborhood.

Anki Kallstrom during the exhibition

Anki Kallstrom during the exhibition

She was interviewed by Margareta Wagacheru, a writer with the local newspaper ‘Business Daily. To read the article click here

Type face and Heroes

Typeface & Heroes

Typeface & Heroes

New media is definitely catching on birthing  a new breed of artists who have abandoned the conventional artistic ways and ventured into a new path. One such artist is Brian Omolo .

As an artist, an Illustrator, and  a graphic designer who is passionate about creativity he is keen on creating work that captures and captivates his audience but still showing some aspect of humor. He exhibited some of his works in an exhibition dabbed ‘Typeface & Heroes at the Qpasa Bar and Bistro which ran from the 2nd to the 23rd of August 2013. The exhibition featured a variety of works that included a fusion of our childhood human and animal heroes.

Guests admiring artwork during the opening of the exhibition

Guests admiring artwork during the opening of the exhibition

Sudanese Vision

Yassir Ali and Fawas El Said  both based at Kuona Trust  held at month long exhibition at the National Museum this month showing some of their old and most recent work. Yassir has a distinct style often identifiable by the Nubian motifs that he uses in his paintings. Fawas, who is the younger of the duo  chose a more contemporary approach in his work, focusing on  semi abstract work.If you missed the show, you can still come and view the work in their studios at Kuona Trust.

Yassir Ali

Yassir Ali

Fawas el said

Fawas El Said

Ndegeya: Silent Possibilities

As the premier art centre in Kenya, Kuona Trust has endeavored to form strong partnerships with other art organizations in the region to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and skills.

One such partnership with the weaver bird art centre in Uganda resulted in one of our artists ,Joe Lukhovi go on a residency at the Weaver Bird  in Masaka, Uganda.During his stay Lukhovi was able to capture breath taking images of the daily day to day lives and activities  of the residents of Masaka .These pictures were shown in the Kuona gallery in a one week exhibition titled ‘Ndegeya: Silent Possibilities’

Ndegeya:Silent possibilities

To read more on  Joe Luknhovi’s experience in Kampala and view some of the images he took,click here

Usi Why Jali

Former Kuona artist Kota Otieno ,now based in Kibera at the new Usi-Why-Jali studios exhibited some of his work alongside other young and upcoming artists in the same area.

usi why jali

‘From the Godown to the CBD‘ exhibition

As the ambitious NAi Ni Who? project by the Godown Art centre drew to a close, the artists from the Godown Arts Centre organized an exhibition at the Alliance Francaise that showcased art work around the theme of the festival, our identity as Nairobians.


Nai Ni who? came to an end in pomp and colour in a  colourful ceremony that saw them appreciate the partners who  helped facilitate the project. Kuona Trust was appreciated for its support during the zone 10 celebration.

Tea time for 216

We periodically allow artists form different art centres and regions to come and work in the space, exchange ideas with other artists and generally take advantage of the create atmosphere to create new work. Early last month, we had the pleasure of hosting one Miriam Kings.

Miriam Kings

Miriam Kings

Miriam Kings is a an artist and a curator from a London who had lived in Kenya during the post colonial period. Her personal practice includes photography, video and audio. During her stay at Kuona she made a visit to her home town of Kiringaga District where she visited a girl’s boarding school and a theological college. The images she took from the tour were displayed in a four day exhibition at Kuona Trust which she named ‘Tea time for 216’ (The number of girls in a local boarding school she visited )

The images celebrated the rich fertility of the ground in the area,  the role of women in the community as well as other images  drawn from her family album.

Looking out at the valley (1)

To conclude her stay, we held a farewell party where other artists had the opportunity to meet and interact with Miriam.

Links, /

Ermias Ekube’s farewell party and exhibition

Ermias Ekube has been part of Kuona Trust  for almost a year, he has  inspired us, challenged us with his dedication for his work and most of all he has impressed us with the unbelievable talent. Ermias left Kuona last month to venture into greater opportunities abroad and though we will miss him dearly, we wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.

We had a farewell party for him at Kuona where we presented him with a painting that was a collaborative piece between the artists and staff. Ermias also exhibited some of the portraits he had done of the artists at Kuona in the gallery.

Ermias Ekube receiving a gift from Kuona

Ermias Ekube receiving a gift from Kuona’s Programmes & Marketing Officer Renee Mboya

Portrait exhibition

Portrait exhibition in the Kuona gallery

RIziki Nyambura’s  residency

Kuona has been quite  fortunate to have a vibrant and dynamic set of resident artist from our regional and international residency programmes. Riziki Nyambura who hails from the coastal town of Ukunda came on a four week residency at Kuona

Coming from an area that predominantly creates commercial art  for tourists, she benefited greatly from being in an environment where each artist has a distinctive style and is not necessarily driven by market demands but by the desire of self expression. She had an open studio event where she put her work on display and was able to network with members of the public share her ideas and discuss her artistic practice. Some of the work she displayed included artwork that bore new techniques she had learnt form other artists in the space who challenged her to use new medium.

Riziki Nyambura during her open studio event

Riziki Nyambura during her open studio event

Previous residents: Mario Macilau making headlines globally

“….alarming and provoking, arresting and engaging, public and private but, above all, utterly human”, These are just some of the words used to describe Mozambican photographer and former Kuona resident artist Mario Macilau. During his stay at Kuona, Macilau taught a photography workshop and had a combined exhibition ‘Itumba‘ with performance artist,Ntando Cele, also a resident at the time.

A picture by Mario Macilau

A picture by Mario Macilau

To watch Macilau’s interview with Aljazerra’s Francois Verster click here

Kuona Trust director at Nafasi  and Insakartists 

Our director, Sylvia Gichia was invited to the Insaka Art Centre in Zambia where she taught the artists there basic concepts on art professionalism. She was also able to go to Tanzani’s Nafasi Art centre to finalize agreements that would enable Kuona send out 9 artists on a residency programme at Nafasi and also receive a few from their end. It is our hope that these collaborations will open up Africa and provide opportunities for creatives to work together and share ideas and skills.

Sylvia at Insakartists Trust

Sylvia Gichia at the Insakartists Trust in Zambia


Creative Africa Network

This site is definitely worth checking out.  The Creative Africa Network  Forum is a platform for members to share information—such as calls for artists, residencies, workshops, competitions and awards, calls for papers, funding or other possibilities—providing professional information valuable to established and emerging artists as well as cultural liaisons.

Link :

Picture of the month

just fff

Metamophosis: Before an after pictures of Kuona Trust’s current location

Quote: ‘ The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire, and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation. -Auguste Rodin (12 November 1840 – 17 November 1917)

Rodin was a French sculptor and is   generally considered as the progenitor of modern sculpture.

Have a wonderful month.

Exhibition: Sudanese Vision by Yassir & Fawaz, Extended to Aug. 11 2013 @ National Museum

Nairobi Now :: arts, culture and events

Extension: Until August 11, 2013
Venue: National Museum, Creativity Gallery
Times: 8.30am to 5.30 pm Daily
Entry: museum Rates Apply

Yassir Ali is a Sudanese artist who is currently living in Nairobi, Kenya. A graduate of Fine Art from Sudan University for Science and Technology, Yassir is a member of the Almada Art Group, Union for Sudanese Artists and Kuona Trust. He is also involved in many projects for Sudanese children. Yassir is inspired by Nubian culture and motifs and his art is easily identified by eye-catching forms and colour. He has been exhibiting actively internationally.

Fawaz Elsaid was born in Sudan, and graduated from the College of Fine Art at Sudan University in 2004. He too is currently at Kuona Trust. He has participated in art workshops at the French Cultural Center in Khartoum and exhibits his work in Sudan as well as abroad.

Each artist makes…

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Forget the hustle, stop at the pitstop


Inline image 1

All a creative wants to do is sit and create but sometimes we are forced to get out of our creative holes and get important stuff like copyrighting your work done.

So, you have your portfolio in play, beautifully put together in a leather-cased A3 size bound portfolio. Its kinda, bulky and really stressful to get into a mathree with it coz lets face it, these 14 seater mathree’s don’t have enough space for you, your portfolio and the mama mboga’s sack of potatoes…plus she pays extra to the conductor while you don’t.

This does not deter you and you finally get into town, dressed in your only pair of decent jeans, a shirt and your borrowed father’s shoes (let’s face it…we like us a pair of converse). You walk into one of the buildings that hosts say Copyright Board, just as you are about to press the elevator button, you hear a guy asking…”Kichana unaenda wapi?”. You turn and its the watchie, *Afro Cinema begins* “Naenda Copyright”, you answer. “Lakini hii kitu unabeba si inakaa ka risasi?”, (Really men…really?) You think to yourself “Hii…hii (stammers) ni portfolio yangu.” You calmly respond.

After several back and forth’s and a ‘portfolio ‘review’ he finally let’s you in *halleluyah*.

You get to the copyright office and after a brief conversation, realise that it will cost you a few more shillings than you have in your pocket *the horror*. You walk out disappointed.

Once you get out, you remember the hot single you just dropped and to make some money from it you have to get into another mat and building to get to Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK)…

This August, Creatives Garage, brings you PITSTOP. Pitstop is a event bringing most of the Organizations together so, YOU, the creative need not go through this drama.

Wylde International, MCSK, Copyright board, ICT board, Kuona Trust, PAWA 254, Craft Afrika and Story moja have partnered with Creatives Garage to answer all your questions during this event.

Pitstop will be happening on 10th August 2013 from 10pm to 3.00pm at Kuona Trust.

Joram Mwinamo, Managing partner at Wylde International, will be giving a business talk on setting up and running a successful business. Creative labs will be hosted by our partners. Dj Kim and Fork will be on the decks.

Join us and forget the hustle.


For more info contact the Creatives Garage on :

+254 708 752 575

+254 735 157 500

Twitter: cr8vesgarage

Artist profile: Miriam Kings and the Tea for 216

Miriam Kings – Tea Time For 216.

Looking out at the valley (1)

Name:    Miriam Kings

City/Country:   London, England


Website :,

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.


Miriam Kings

Miriam Kings

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I have previously been involved in collaborative curating projects like Hackney Transient Arts Project (HTAP) (Hackney is a borough of London) which included editing talking heads interviews with Hackney residents on subjects such as what it means to call Hackney home, and conflict and displacement.  We (HTAP) also curated – and participated in as artists – a mapping one day exhibition set out like a fêtê, where the visitor moved from stall to stall, adding to or engaging with the five artists’ maps. The authoriship in this event was blurred as some ideas were quite collaborative between artists, secondly the exhibition visitor was contributing to make the work. (i.e.  thinking up words for a map, placing a counter on a board game, or bringing an object or photograph from their home to add to an installation.)

Participation and looking at the wider politics in how we conceptualise space and place are the two strands that link the projects done over the past 10 years. Each new project takes on a different form which is quite hard, you can’t say, I’m a painter, or I’m a sculptor. It’s also difficult to make a living from this kind of work.

How did you decide to become an artist?

When I was in art class at school I sat next to someone who was really talented at art I realized how much I wanted to be an artist. Art holds a unique space where it can communicate – separate to a commercial brief – using a visual response. A painting or a sculpture can change your mood for the whole day, perhaps the whole week- some works of art you never forget.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

Someone told me to respect your own decisions as an artist. You made that decision for a reason at that particular time, so then to undo that decision you are backtracking and it’s lots of work to back track.


Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?

The last piece of work I sold was two weeks ago and the time before that I hadn’t sold anything since 2004. So I do other jobs to financially support myself. This has meant for the past 10 years I’ve been working two jobs, sometimes ridiculous hours per, week sometimes 80+. Any money raised from donors or sales would spent on the exhibition, the venue, the installation etc. This isn’t a great work/life balance as you’re always working, one job for the money, second job for art, to be involved in creating an exhibition somehow.

I have two blogs one more formal,  and one for photography, I market myself with these and also attend gallery events and openings of specific galleries I’d like to create a relationship with.

About Tea for 216

Before I arrived in Kenya I planned to make a video of the landscape of the valley I lived in for seven years in my childhood. I was inspired to use a technique used by artist Patrick Keiller’s work – a long shot that looks like a still photo, but as you watch it you realize it is a video. The view I planned was similar to the valley exhibition photo. The sound was going to be the natural valley sounds, birds, pigens hooting now and again, and the trees rustling. Due to various reasons I didn’t bring a video camera to Kenya so the work wasn’t realised. When I was shown the valley by Gacoki, who looked after me for five years of the seven,  I took a photo of him looking out at the valley. This photo for me represents the epic, almost spiritual, nutrients the hills provide the community. The culture of shambas – integrated into Kenyan life. The fact that if you have a plot of land and don’t plant on it, you’re mad.

When I came back to Kuona after my trip I asked if I could exhibit the photos in the gallery and kuona said ‘why not’ which was amazing to have a solo show. The photographs were taken on a camera phone. There are four themes that arise: The almost spiritual richness of the soil in the foothills of Mount Kenya – shamba culture-, womens cleansing actions of sweeping and cleaning, the role of women in church, and also, my perspective, the advantages we had as foreigners in a Kikuyu community. This is represented by my inclusion of  a photo of a photo album photo. The advantages we had, and I experienced when travelling back to visit, constrasts significantly with the difficulty that foreigners have when  visiting  or living in the UK.

 Who are some of the Nairobi/ Kenyan artists you enjoy?

James Muriuki has some beautiful photographs and bagged some interesting projects. Poet, actress, performer Ngwatilo Mawiyoo is very cool. I really enjoy Cyrus Kabiru’s work, it is utopic asthetically but also conceptually –  in the sence that it is fantastical, and the same time critical of the throwaway culture of the world. Some art ou just see and love, and it grows on you. With the matatu’s by Dennis Muraguri it was both. I like that each painting is of that particular moment in the life of a particular matatu or street scene. The paintings are are firstly satirical and fun, secondly, hopeful, holding contemporary Nairobi in a political story.


if I were to follow you around to see art in Nairobi, which places would we go? What would we see?

Kuona Trust, Go Down Arts centre, Talisman. Nairobi National Museum, Village Market,  Red Hill Gallery, Maasai Mbili, all good places.


In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

In Nairobi there are a few good blogs to find what is going on in the arts scene, mainly on facebook though- kuona always updates facebook regularly! Otherwise in the uk, which is a website that shows art shows going on.


Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

Yes tomorrow I’ll have a private view of some photographs. Its only in a storage room that we have painted white, we call it The Cloud Gallery, a bit like a square cloud- it’s quite small, but it works. I am working on a new blog at the moment,, it’s a kind of sketchbook photographs- you can sign up to ‘follow’ the blog- and it will notify you when new pictures are posted.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’d like to continue with Photograph series.

Parting shot, Miriam Kings with Kuona artist Omosh Kindeh during the ‘Tea Time for 216’  party

miriam and kindeh

Look out for picture of the exhibition and the party in our  July Newsletter.