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.

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 receiving the cash prize for the best overall design

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 entrepreneurship  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:

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.

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.

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

Type face and 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.

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

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’

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.

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 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.

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

Links, www.miriamkings.co.uk / www.50shillings.wordpress.com

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 : http://www.creativeafricanetwork.com/search/6507/en

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.