Above I'm pictured in front of a Hair Salon shop in Kibera slum, Nairobi.
Kibera was exciting as always and we were able to do interviews and hang out with the Maasai Mbilli art collective: Kevo, Gomba, Ashif, Wikki & Anita, a new member we met for the first time. We really enjoyed doing the interviews and appreciated the authentic bonding we had with the collective. We also toured the slum extensively and realized that the Maasai Mbili crew are probably the most famous institution in the slum. Because of their sign writing profession they have interacted with every corner of this massive slum. Their ability to build networks immediately reminded me of Ron Burt's graph of success (see below). Ron Burt contends that network brokers tend to be high achievers and that is exactly what Maasai Mbili have managed to do via their studio, artwork and social justice commitment. This is the main reason that their studio did not go up flames in the 2007 post election violence that razed the slum to the ground.
In other news, our curator, Susan, made it to Kenya and Africa for the first time. She discovered the ultimate Kenyan beer - Tusker - and made a point of capturing the moment for us (see below). Susan brings to AfroArt an interdisciplinary approach to modern and contemporary art cultures.
Sundays are always dull without music. Here is a Kenyan favorite, Milele, done by Elani, a Kenyan music group dedicated to creating authentic music using Kiswahili, the most widely spoken language in Sub Saharan Africa.
Elani - Milele