Kevo Stero, Jazz, Art and Beer, Mixed Media on Canvas 39" x 31.5"
In the summer of 2014, just before I left Kenya for my last year of graduate school at UC Berkeley, I made a visit to Paa ya Paa, Kenya’s first indigenous African art centre. I wanted to meet the founder of the center, 82-year-old Elimo Njau. Elimu is Kenya's oldest living artist. He has endured the tumultuous East Africa art scene over the decades and has himself contributed immensely to it - both in the capacity of lecturer (at Makerere University and the University of Dar-es-Salaam) and a top pioneer artist. His first big project was a mural at the age of 24 in 1958, just 5 years before Kenya gained independence from the British in 1963.
When I met Elimu Njau, he had some wise words for me: "sleep, play and love - just like a child does." He reminded me to approach life and people with the humility and curiosity of a child. "Be tender like a child," he said. He then told me to approach tasks and life in general in a playful manner allowing for failure. Losing fear of failure elevates creative intelligence. "Rest and sleep," he added, "are necessary", and then went on to assert the need to love those we care about and those who make us come alive most. Relationships matter in whatever field you are in.
AfroArt East Africa has been a journey of love with our friends, family, artists and even people we don't know.
Thank you for believing in us. The video below is a sampling of East Africa's premier artists.
Art in East Africa