March 13th 2020 was the day the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Kenya, setting off a series of unprecedented events that kept us indoors, saw many businesses shut down, an overdose of Zoom meetings, broken marriages, and even a lucky drop in crime in the country. What followed though were intense, never-seen-before experiences that many of us can only consider the biggest events of our lifetime (I hope) for this generation.
A few days before the March 2020 lockdown, we had just set-up an art exhibition at Cheche Gallery at the Kenya Cultural Centre called ‘Malaika’, set to celebrate the International Women’s Day in 2020. That exhibition did not end up as we had planned, but that is life. Luckily, we are planning to do one this March at the same Gallery and make it bigger and better. For those who do not know, the Kenya Cultural Centre (Kenya National Theatre) has a medium-sized public gallery that can host visual art exhibitions. You can get in touch with them if you would like to put up a show there.
So now we are in February 2023 and Karakana, working in collaboration with Art a Glance, is hosting a fine art exhibition called ‘Re-framed’. It starts on the 14th to the 28th of February and will be open daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm. It is an exhibition that takes an in-depth look at life through the lenses of intense human experiences, and how the view changes when perspectives change.
‘Re-framed’ will feature a collection of artworks created in the last four years and will be unpacking the process of an artist's creation over a period of time, offering reflections by the artists on the growth path to mastering continuous work. The show expresses a stark realistic difference of perspectives, especially after a serious devastation like the global pandemic. The exhibition is curated by Nahya Kuri, from Art a Glance and will be featuring many artworks by young artists from Nairobi's informal settlements and disadvantaged backgrounds.
I met the multi-talented Nahya back in 2018 when we first did the ‘Kesho Afrika I’ art exhibition at Alliance Francaise, and birthed a continuous collaborative relationship between Karakana Initiative and Art a Glance. Since then we have partnered and set up ‘Malaika’ Art Exhibition as well as the ‘Native Histories Festival’ at the amazing Karen Village. This time, Art a Glance has brought together over ten artists and at least 50 art pieces to showcase.
Over and above the art exhibition at Cheche Gallery, we shall also be having our regular Karakana Dialogues on Monday 13th February at Ukumbi Mdogo, with a panel of experts and artists discussing these experiences and perspectives that inspire their art. The event will be happening from 6:00 to 8:00pm, and also virtually (live) on Facebook and our Youtube channel.