Inside Clever Art Gallery's Unique Outdoor Exhibition in Nairobi


Nairobi's 3rd edition of the biggest outdoor exhibition in the Visual Arts happened in Nairobi Railways Museum on the 4th and 5th of May 2019 courtesy of Clever Art Gallery. And I was there to see it.


I attended the exhibition on the 4th and it was one of the most unique art exhibitions I have been to so far with art pieces displayed on top of the beautiful old trains. The art and the trains complemented each other so well you could not help but appreciate both even more.

It was just the perfect time of the year to have this artsy event because of the cool but sunny weather and the glossy green grass thanks to the recent rain. That must be the reason why I spotted numerous insta moments going on inside and outside the trains, on the beautiful green grass and next to the artwork.


Glossy Green

Being an outdoors event, it goes without saying there was plenty of space to interact with the brilliant artists behind the beautiful art pieces exhibited. On that note, I'd like to share with you a bit about the Visual Artists I met.

I'll start with two ladies Dee and Rey who also happen to be classmates. They are both students at Kenyatta University and they had displayed their work next to each other.

 Dee does unique mixed-media pieces with paper on canvas such as the one below and thanks to her Instagram, I also found out that she also sings. It's always encouraging to meet people who are bravely pursuing all their artistic talents. 

Dee's mixed media piece


Rey's pieces, on the other hand, are inspired by animals and children - like the ones below.

Artistic Rey's pieces

llewxam is a student at BIFA (Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts). I found his name so interesting that I had to mention it and he made me laugh when he said it was Maxwell spelled the other way round.

He also shared how he got that name from his friends a while ago as they were talking about their dreams of succeeding in their artistic careers.  He is interested in doing live portraits at events. And he sent me the video below of a piece he completed in 6 minutes at an event in school. 

Llewxam painting a live portrait

Gideon and I discovered that we share something in common. We both studied art in high school but for one reason or the other, we could not pursue it in Uni. 

Gideon is currently doing Graphic Design at Talanta Institute. I found his portraits very interesting to look at, especially the one below done using a biro pen. There is a nice flowy vibe to the unique patterns he used on them.

Gideon's portrait

I then met three friends Dennow, Jimmy and Mwesh from Sketchmaster Art Studio, an Art school in Kasarani. 

Dennow is a really cool guy and I immediately fell in love with a piece he had done of a lady with some fly dreadlocks. I quizzed him further about it and he told me it was a piece he had done for a competition on drawing dreadlocks. 

Dennow's dreadlock piece

Jimmy, also based in Kasarani, has been in the industry for 6 years now. His art piece of an old guy winking made me smile.

Jimmy's portrait

Mwesh and I instantly broke into conversation after I mentioned that I have a sister called Mwende. It was a sweet ice breaker and she told me that many people ask her what Mwesh stands for so it's good to meet people who already know. 


Mwesh next to her artwork

Speaking of good things, it was also good to see a good number of female Visual Artists present.   

Ms. Ndunge made my day with her flower pots made out of reused fabric and concrete. It is always refreshing to see art that contributes positively to the environment. I spotted a really pretty one made out of a towel. She did Fashion Design at Kenyatta University and is the owner of the fashion brand Zaqara Kenya 


Ms. Ndunge's unique flower pot

Damaris is a self-taught artist. YouTube University is her jam. She had displayed her intricately made string art and I could not help but think of the amount of time she put into learning and creating this type of art. She is super talented and patient.


Damaris' string art


Steve Rotino is another patient, self-taught artist I met. He creates his pieces using millet and sorghum. He is based in Rongai and is also interested in string art.


Steve's millet and sorghum art


Ochi's story is quite a unique one. He did not go to high school so he is self-taught. He also told me there's a period in his artistic career he took a break for a decade. In spite of all these adversities, his pieces were the most unique and intricately done in the exhibition. He etches on wood and there's this piece he did of a lion that kept on calling people to his display section. Yes, his work is eye-catching.


Ochi's beautifully etched wood
                                  

Emanuel Kariuki was super helpful. I met him through Ochi and he linked me to an art expert I was really looking for. He learnt his craft at Sketchmaster Art Studio and is currently mentoring the new artists coming in.


Emanuel's monkey drawing

Wambui's pieces are the ones that welcomed us to the event. However, I could not trace her so I decided I'll try and meet her on my way out. Which I did. I marvelled at her beautiful mixed media piece of a peacock. It shone in the Saturday sun and brought out the lovely essence of the peacock impeccably. She is from Kenyatta University and is currently based at Dust Depo Art Studio in Nairobi Railways Museum.


Wambui's art display


And just like that after meeting Wambui, my time at Clever Art Gallery's unique outdoor exhibition came to an end. I left the exhibition with new artsy friends and inspiration to continue working on my craft. By the way, this is the first article I have written this year so it tells you a lot. I'd like to thank all you brilliant artists for sharing a bit about yourselves with me and for inspiring me through your art.

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