Wajukuu launches artwork residency programme with world friends


Visible Arts

Wajukuu launches artwork residency programme with world friends


Severin and Anja Wyden-Guelpa with Shabu Mwangi at Wajukuu Artwork Centre, Mukuru Lunga Lunga, February 3, 2023. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

Think about Mukuru Lunga Lunga slum being on the coronary heart of a global artwork challenge. 

That’s precisely what we discovered after we made our method by Nairobi’s Industrial space to Lunga Lunga highway, and onto what one can hardly name a highway. 

However the rocky, circuitous path to Wajukuu Artwork Centre was the one solution to see Kenyan, Swiss, and Venezuelan artists at work, getting ready for his or her group exhibition that opens February 10 and can run for 3 weeks.

“Matza Edgelands Nairobi: Digital Informalities” is the identify given to this fascinating collaborative challenge, curated by Severin and Anja Wyden Guelpa.

The Swiss couple, who based Matza in 2019, have their eyes on seven cities, not simply Nairobi, as they examine how native communities are transitioning into the twenty first ‘digitalized’ century in a world nonetheless caught up in previous analogue methods of considering, working, and being.

The artists have all been attending a three-week residency on the Wajukuu Artists Collective the place they’ve been immersed in intense discussions about each the idea and apply of digitalization and its affect domestically. 


Wajukuu’s new Artwork Centre in Mukuru Lunga Lunga slum, February 3, 2023. PHOTO | POOL

“The theoretical facet of the residency concerned every week of brainstorming and exchanging concepts about digitalization and the way it’s impacting native communities, particularly by way of safety and freedom,” Severin informed BDLife.

Explaining how that they had heard in regards to the Wajukuu Artwork Collective and its founder Shabu Mwangi as they had been contemplating who to collaborate with in Kenya, Anja mentioned they met him in Germany after listening to he was there, collaborating within the Documenta 2022 Pageant. 

“We had already deliberate to go to Documenta [one of the largest art fairs in Europe], so we went and met him there.”

The Wajukuu artist residency and the ‘Digital Informalities’ exhibition got here out of that preliminary encounter.

“We had been enthusiastic about beginning our personal residency program, inviting artists to return and stick with us for a month,” Shabu mentioned. “So, their strategies had been completely timed.” 

Actually, the unique concept derived from the Edgeland Institute whose founder had been a part of a two-year train initiated by Harvard College.

“Harvard had, shall I say ‘incubated’ the challenge to analyze how digitalization has impacted native communities,” Severin mentioned.

“They referred to as on the Edgeland Institute to implement the challenge, and Edgeland invited us to collaborate with them,” he added. 

The opposite cities the place these points will likely be addressed are Medellin, Columbia, Beirut, Lebanon, Singapore, Chicago, USA, and Geneva, Switzerland.

The day I went to Wajukuu, the artists had simply accomplished the primary week of the residency, so that they had been simply starting to implement the concepts generated throughout the brainstorming.

Among the many eight artists and designers attending the residency, 5 are Kenyan. They’re Joan Otieno, Wanjiru Ngure, Nabalayo, Ngugi Waweru, a cofounder of Wajukuu, and Shabu himself. 

The others are Ronald Pizzoferrato from Venezuela, Mounir Ayoub, initially from Tunisia however now Swiss, and Flurina Rothenberger, from Switzerland, like Severin and Anja.

The day I made it to Mukuru Lunga Lunga, I discovered Joan Otieno busy developing a ‘Protected home’ for women and single moms, seven of whom had been already serving to her work. She was within the means of constructing a rondavel-like ‘hut’ large enough for women to return and really feel secure. 

“We’ll be constructing the secure home with mabati (corrugated iron),” mentioned Joan who hopes she will be able to get new metallic sheets for the home.

“Then, after the present is over, I’ll be coming again right here and instructing them abilities in recycling, identical to what I do with susceptible younger ladies and women at Warembo Wasanii [in Korogocho],” she added.

I used to be additionally capable of see Shabu who mentioned he’s involved with environmental points.

“I’m within the course of of constructing a video on the [filthy] situation of the Ngong River,” he informed BDLife. The river which is roofed on either side with filthy plastic baggage runs proper in from the Wajukuu Artwork Centre the place a lot of the guests have stayed.

The exhibition included organized ‘guided excursions’ across the settlement to see the artists’ works this Saturday after the exhibition opens. 

The entire artworks are supposed to handle problems with safety, freedom, and the belief required for a group to “thrive in a world marked by digitalization.”

“Wajukuu already has numerous initiatives aimed toward enhancing the standard of life locally,’ Joseph Kimani mentioned. “I do know as a result of I’ve been a part of the Wajukuu Kids’s Artwork Membership since I used to be 7,” he added. “Now I’m 27!”

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