Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

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 kenyan live painting artist

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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10 Profound Treasures In The Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert is an awesome, quick read with a couple hundred pages that I guarantee will hook you from the word go. Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her memoir Eat Pray Love which happened to be on the New York BestSeller list for 3 years, and later became a Hollywood movie starring Julia Roberts.

As a huge fan of Elizabeth's work, I was eager to find out what she had in store for creatives like us in Big Magic. I say us because as you'll soon find out below, we were all created creators; in short, we are all creatives. I hope these 10 treasures will jog your memory if you have already read this book, or spark an urge in you to get your own copy and indulge yourself if you haven't.

The 1st treasure is:
Do whatever makes your heart sing and let it be imperfect because it is likely that no one will even notice.
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Elizabeth mentions some advice she received from a woman in her mid-seventies whom she met while she was in her insecure twenties. The advice went like this:

"We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect because we're so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don't give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won't be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies when you finally realize this liberating truth - nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow."

With this knowledge, you have the ability to liberate yourself from your insecure thoughts. You can finally pursue the things that fascinate you and make your heart sing, giving the outcome permission to be imperfect because it is very likely that nobody will even notice. The most beautiful thing is now you understand that just like you, everyone else is too busy thinking about themselves and their lives to be talking all that much about you and yours. So it's time you live your life unapologetically.

The 2nd treasure is:
Creative living is more than owning the title artist, writer, poet e.t.c

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In the book, you will meet Susan, who at the age of forty took to figure skating after more than 2 decades. She had quit skating in her teens after realizing she did not have enough talent to be a champion. This way of thinking naturally places pressure on anything so I understand her decision.

When she turned forty, she went through some soul searching and realized that her current state of restlessness and heaviness had a remedy. It came from asking herself an important question - when is the last time she felt truly light, joyous, and yes creative in her own skin? After this soul-searching, she realized it was decades ago while figure skating as a teenager.

According to Elizabeth, "Susan was appalled that she had denied herself this life-affirming pursuit for so long, and she was curious to see if she still loved it. So she followed her curiosity. She bought a pair of skates, found a rink, hired a coach, She ignored the voice within her that told her she was being self-indulgent and preposterous to do this crazy thing.

She tamed down her feelings of extreme self-consciousness for being the only middle-aged woman on the ice, with all those tiny, feathery nine-year-old girls. She just did it. Susan still figure skates several mornings a week simply because skating is still the best way for her to unfold a certain beauty and transcendence within her life that she cannot seem to access in any other manner. And she would like to spend as much time as possible in such a state of transcendence while she is still here on earth.
That's what I call creative living."

It is important to note that Susan did not quit her job. She just added skating into her weekly to-do list. And so can you with your passion.

The 3rd treasure is 
Value curiosity more than you value passion

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As you noticed in the 2nd treasure, curiosity led Susan to discover something about herself she had forgotten. Elizabeth says she prefers curiosity to passion: curiosity is what keeps you working steadily, while hotter emotions may come and go.

She encourages us to follow our curiosity, ask questions, sniff around and remain open. She also says that we should trust in the miraculous truth that new and marvelous ideas are looking for human collaborators every single day. All we need to do is let them know we are available.

That brings us to the 4th treasure which is:
Ideas look for collaborative humans to partner with but if you do not give them the attention they deserve, just like any other relationship they move on to someone else who will.

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I was so used to the tired idea that if you share your ideas, someone might steal them - until I read Big Magic. Because unless you are ready to work on an idea, it is of no use to you. Just as the name of the book suggests, ideas are somewhat magical. For example, Elizabeth narrates how she and her friend Ann happened to have the exact same storyline for a book they each wanted to write.

Elizabeth got the idea first but due to a relationship issue, she lost the spark that came with the idea. And so the idea was transferred to her friend in the most remarkable way. In this case, the idea got a better collaborator in Ann to make it manifest. Ann later saw it to completion and published the book.

Instead of Elizabeth beating herself up she used this experience as evidence of her beliefs about creativity; that ideas are alive and that they seek the most available human collaborator.

Elizabeth says "Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human's efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual."

The 5th treasure is
Hard work guarantees nothing in the realms of creativity we should work with stubborn gladness on our craft no matter the outcome.

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It is never guaranteed that one will succeed as a creative but one thing is for sure at the very least you will know that you tried. And that no matter the outcome, you have honored your heart and traveled a noble path.

Elizabeth also adds "My ultimate choice, then is to always approach my work from a place of stubborn gladness. I worked for years with stubborn gladness before I was published. I worked with stubborn gladness when I was still an unknown new writer, whose first book sold just a handful of copies - mostly to members of my own family.

I worked with stubborn gladness when I was riding high on a giant bestseller. I worked with stubborn gladness when I was not riding high on a giant bestseller anymore, and when my subsequent books did not sell millions of copies. I worked with stubborn gladness when critics praised me, and I worked with stubborn gladness when critics made fun of me. I've held to my stubborn gladness when my work is going badly, and also when it's going well."

The 6th treasure is
Shake off failure and shame in order to keep living a creative life.

And this is what Elizabeth had to say about this: "First of all, forgive yourself. If you made something and it didn't work out, let it go. Remember that you're nothing but a beginner - even if you've been working on your craft for fifty years. We are all just beginners here, and we shall all die beginners. So let it go. Forget about the last project, and go searching with an open heart for the next one."

If you have been studying a bit about the law of attraction, you may have come across the phrase what you focus on you attract. So if you keep on moping about your failure and how uncomfortable it makes you feel, then you are bound to keep on going in a loop of similar experiences. So I suggest you do yourself a favor and just let it go. All will be well. And remember the 1st treasure - it is exceedingly likely that nobody will remember or even notice your failure.

The 7th treasure is
There are times when you feel like things are too crazy and you need a break from your craft; look for another lighter creative avenue to pursue, while you take your break.

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Elizabeth put it so well, "Be not solitary be not idle. Find something to do - anything, even a different sort of creative work altogether - just to take your mind off your anxiety and pressure. Einstein called this tactic "combinatory play" - the act of opening up one mental channel by dabbling in another. This is why he would often play the violin when he was having difficulty solving a mathematical puzzle; after a few hours of sonatas, he could usually find the answer he needed."

The 8th treasure is
Reject the flawed notion of artist martyrdom

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I remember after the  creative entrepreneurship training

 I did in 2017 with GoDowns Art Center,

 we received some advice from the guests of honor during the graduation ceremony. One piece of advice stuck and it went something like "No matter what your craft takes you through, do not let yourself be at the mercy of substance abuse."

Elizabeth adds "All I can tell you for certain is that my entire life has been shaped by an early decision to reject the cult of artist martyrdom, and instead to place my trust in the crazy notion that my work loves me as much as I love it - that it wants to play with me as much as I want to play with it - and that this source of love and play is boundless."

That is a belief Elizabeth decided to cultivate. A belief is basically a thought that you continuously think until it becomes true to you. If you believe that you are just playing with your craft, and just like any other game at times you win and at times you lose, then it's no biggie. You will wake up the next day and play again no matter the outcome. Losing yourself to booze or on a puff is only a temporary fix. This simply takes us back to the 6th treasure which was you need to shake off your failure and shame in order to continue living as a creative.

The 9th treasure is
Avoid falling for the stereotype that creativity drives people crazy

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According to Elizabeth and I agree with her "Not expressing creativity turns people crazy. (If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don't bring forth what is within you, what you don't bring forth will destroy you - Gospel of Thomas.) Bring forth what is within you, then, whether it succeeds or fails. Do it whether the final product (your souvenir) is crap or gold. Do it whether the critics love you or hate you - or whether the critics have never heard of you and perhaps never will hear of you. Do it whether people get it or don't get it."

The 10th treasure is
Learn to cooperate with inspiration, make the environment conducive for a worthwhile partnership.

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Inspiration and ideas are almost synonymous and as we learned in the 4th treasure, we are supposed to have a respectful partnership with inspiration too. Living a creative life comes with the responsibility to clear all the obstacles that may prevent creative living. If you are wondering what kind of obstacles these are, just know that what is bad for you is probably bad for your work too. Elizabeth advises that you may want to lay off the booze a bit in order to get a keener mind. Also, nourish healthier relationships in order to keep yourself from being distracted by self-invented emotional catastrophes.

To sum up all these 10 treasures, just know that it is okay to be pleased with what you have created. And if your project did not work, you can choose to take it as an experiment that taught you a couple of things - rather than a chance to carry blame and sink into shame. If it gets too heavy for you, don't let yourself be at the mercy of substance abuse.

You can battle your demons through other means such as meditation to quiet your mind and put you at ease; therapy, as a problem shared, is half solved; recovery, rest and restoration; prayer or any other way to get in touch with your spirituality. And through another creative endeavor that is different from your main one, just to mention a few.

Keep in mind that ideas and inspiration are your partners and require respect and commitment just like any other relationship. Also, remember that it is not guaranteed that you will "succeed" at your craft in societal terms. But the fact that you are even working on what makes your heart sing, means that you have won in your own relationship with your heart by following a noble path.

Have you read Big Magic? Which of these 10 treasures stands out to you and why?
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On The First Ongala Music Festival Heaven Shed Tears Of Joy.

Dr. Remmy Ongala was undeniably a Tanzanian music icon. He was a well-known musician in East Africa since the 80s and was deeply mourned when he passed on in 2010. It is said that when he passed on, his bongo beat music was played on Tanzanian radio stations nonstop. He was so popular that an area of his home district in Dar es Salaam was named after him.

It, therefore, came naturally for his daughter Aziza Ongala to want to do something for her Dad. In an interview, she had at an online radio show called Underground pride , Aziza said organizing the festival is something she felt she had to do.

Early this year she decided this would be the year to commemorate her father. So she set everything else aside to focus on curating the festival. And I think I speak for most when I say she did an awesome job.

The Main Stage

Ongala Music Festival was a 3-day music affair. It was held in Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam at Malaika Beach Club from the 23rd to the 25th of August. Twenty of us traveled from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam in Dar Lux, a bus company which also happened to be a sponsor of the festival. They had such impeccable customer service, super comfortable seats and an awesome movie collection to keep us entertained during the 16 hour trip.

It was a surreal experience to travel with some of the Kenyan artists that were scheduled to perform at the first Ongala Music Festival. Other than the good vibes they emitted during the conversations, we also got serenaded by some smooth guitar tunes and improvised songs.

Staying at Malaika beach club meant we had access to the beach anytime we wanted. So while the rest of us enjoyed the warmth of the morning sun while in the tents and lengthened our sleep, some of our friends went out jogging on the beach.

On the first night preceding the main event, we had DJs and a few Afro-Fusion artists play music on a mini 'Nyumbani' stage next to a bonfire. One of the DJs only played old school reggae music on vinyl and we were so thrilled that we started dancing under the stars. People took turns to rekindle the fire everytime it tried to die down. We threw dried palm tree leaves into the fire in turns like we had a schedule or something.

The Mini 'Nyumbani' Stage

Our tents were pitched a stone throw away so circumstances forced us in on the fun. But who is complaining? Unless you were a log, I don't see how you could sleep with all that feel-good music playing in the background. No wonder we stayed up till around 4 a.m most nights. It mostly depended on when the DJ would say enough is enough.

On the second night of the festival, it rained. This was something no one had expected so it threw many off balance. My theory is this: Remmy must have been moved to tears by what Aziza, his family, and friends had organized in his memory. Therefore, the Tanzanian skies joined Remmy in solidarity.

Due to those showers of blessing, the show ended early. The next day, the East African artists performed with an extra oomph. No one was taking anything for granted, neither the artists nor the audience. We were more than grateful for the clear skies and for the opportunity to be part of the first-ever Ongala Music Festival.

Papillon on stage

Goosebumps would run up and down my body when different artists went on stage. From Fadhilee to Mandela and then from Papillon to Swahili Ally just to mention a few. It was electric performance after electric performance. Occasionally, some of the audience members would get touched and jump on stage to cheer the artists on by dancing on stage. One even went up to help Fadhilee wave a flag in solidarity with Bobi Wine, a Ugandan musician, and politician who was arrested in his country.

I got to attend a couple of workshops at the festival too. The first workshop I attended was on music management facilitated by Liberian born Raphael Benza. It was eye opening and shed light on how artist management works and how people like me who are interested in helping artists boost their online platform can join the team of the many people behind artists' success.

As my first time in Dar es Salaam, Ongala Music Festival was a wholesome experience. Other than it being a chance to enjoy rich East African music, you also got a chance to be on vacation, learn about music and new cultures, make new friends, have fun and be happy. Just like Remmy Ongala would have wanted.

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How to Easily Start Your Fun New IGTV Channel

A few months ago, a local village in the awesome Kenyan movie Supa Modo created an action film to raise the spirits of a lovely young girl who was terminally ill and living her last days. Just like these very unlikely film creators, I think very soon we will all be video creators. And now with the simplicity and the intimacy that comes with watching a vertical video on your phone through IG stories and IGTV I am more encouraged to continue thinking so.

I mean if a picture is worth a thousand words then a video should be worth hundreds of thousands if not more.

I am writing this because one of my readers asked me to, after reading my previous article on some

interesting facts you should know about IGTV. 

I am slowly falling in love with the platform and have even made a few videos on my personal IG page to prove it.

Welcome to My Channel 🙂

It is ridiculously easy to create an IGTV Channel. And if you already have an Instagram account then you are just a few steps away.

Step 1: Ensure that you have updated you Instagram app and can see the IGTV icon at the top bar.

Step 2: Open the IGTV icon or app, click on the settings icon on the right hand side of the screen and select Create Channel.

Step 3: When you select Create Channel you will be welcomed with the screen below. Click next and follow the prompts.

Step 4: On the final slide after clicking next a couple of times, click on Create Channel and you are done!

Notice below that the settings icon is now replaced with your pages icon.

Once you click on the icon with your profile picture on it, you can upload a video from your camera roll using the plus button.

Like I said, it is quite easy to start your channel and become a video creator too. In the next blogpost I will be sharing some tips on great phone apps you can use to add music and text graphics to make your IGTV channel a lot more spicier. Please note this is what I have experienced and researched so far. The possibilities are endless on how IGTV is bound to evolve. Until next time let's keep exploring with IGTV.
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7 Quick, Interesting Facts You Should Know About IGTV.

By now I'm guessing you've heard about IGTV, and maybe watched some videos on it. If not, not to worry: you are about to learn some very interesting facts about it. For starters, as the name suggests, IGTV simply stands for Instagram Television - a television for the mobile generation.

Here are 7 more things you need to know about this new Instagram update.

1. IGTV is like Instagram's YouTube for mobile.

The main difference is that its videos are meant to be shot and edited vertically. That means the end result will not force the user, which is you and me, to rotate our phones in order for us to enjoy the experience.

2. Its focus is on awesome phone user experience.

More and more people are going online on their phones today than they were a decade ago. Plus it's also getting cheaper and cheaper to do so. We do not need statistics to prove that; the evidence is everywhere, from your 5-year-old nephew who can find and launch a game app on your phone to your 80-year old grandpa who texts you using WhatsApp.

It was very prudent of the Instagram team to come up with IGTV because the future is mobile and the future is here. User experience is always key to online businesses which are keen on making a good impression on their users. 

It would be great if we all took a leaf from Instagram's bold move to make the right kind of changes to our own brands. I, for instance, will be launching a more user-friendly and mobile responsive website soon, so watch out for it.

3. It is downloadable and updateable.

IGTV comes both as a standalone phone app and as a video section on the main Instagram app(once updated). Now, I bet I am not the only one who often runs out of space on my phone. The fact that they thought of people like us is just super. All we need to do is update our Instagram app and voila, we are well on our way to creating our very first IGTV channel.

4. It has a clickable link.

If you have been using links on your Instagram business page bio, you know how hard it is to get people to leave their feed and open your profile to click on it. I am speaking for those of us who are yet to reach 10,000 followers in order to be able to use the swipe up feature in our IG stories.

On IGTV, the playing ground is leveled for brands and businesses, whether they have less than 1000 followers or more than 10,000 followers. Now anyone can add a clickable link in the description of their IGTV video. How cool is that?

5. IGTV supports longer videos.

Instagram stories is said to have been started in order to prep users for IGTV. If you have used Instagram stories, you know how annoying it gets at times because you can only upload 15 seconds of a video at a time.

At the moment, you can upload a maximum of 60 minutes if you have a following of 10,000 and above, and a maximum of 10 minutes if you have a following less than that on IGTV. Whichever way you look at it, that is a major improvement from what we are used to. This is even said to be subject to change in the near future to allow us to post a limitless amount of video time.

6. IGTV can share videos directly to WhatsApp.

We all know the vast number of people using WhatsApp today, I mean even our grandparents use it. Thanks to this upgrade, you will be able to share your IGTV videos outside of Instagram to any Facebook-owned platform - that includes WhatsApp and Facebook itself. This ability to easily share videos from IGTV will just continue to blow up the impact the platform is bound to have on the future of video consumption.

7. Instant video playback and a feature that remembers where you left off.

This means as soon as you open IGTV, videos will start playing. If you happen to leave the video for a while, you will also be able to be directed back to where you left off in order to finish watching the video.

If you are a content creator then it would be wise to make your video super interesting, informative, short and sweet. That way people will watch it till the end and you will leave a great impression that will make the same people watch out for your next videos.

Before I go, it is important to note that IGTV will give creators a chance to showcase their creativity in an environment that is free from advertisements, since the platform is currently not showing any. If you're interested in the future of video consumption, I believe this is the time to join the platform in order to learn and grow before it gets saturated and advertisements start showing. It is also said that just like YouTube, the platform will also develop a way to compensate its content creators. I hope these quick facts have given you the confidence to start your own IGTV channel.

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Virtual Reality in Kenya

My first virtual reality (VR) experience was surreal. I remember spinning around in the chair I sat on, looking up and down to take it all in. Virtual reality, simply put is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the fictional world of the character in the film. Once you wear the VR headset, that's it. You look up, look down, look behind virtually look everywhere and you see what the character is seeing.

Ng'endo Mukii's award-winning film 'Nairobi Berries' was my first. Not only did it feel like I was in another dimension, but I also got lost in this dreamlike state just like the other characters. I believe with time it will be easier to watch VR films so I won't give you any spoilers. Only that it was the dopest experience I have had in my life.

Photo Credit: She Album

Speaking of ease and VR, did you know that Muthoni the Drummer Queen (MDQ) recently released the very first VR music video in Kenya? Well, she did. And courtesy of her partnership with BlackRhinoVR a Kenyan based VR production company, loads of enthusiastic fans - myself included - matched into Garden City Mall to watch the new music video for free.

A friend fully immersed 

The film was so engaging and fun. MDQ's lyrics guided me on where to look next and it felt like being in outer space the whole time. Like you're an astronaut floating around looking at multiple screens and waiting for MDQ to tell you what to do next. That's it no more spoilers - you will get to watch the video soon enough I bet. 

Virtual reality is penetrating the Kenyan Arts and Entertainment industry in record speed. I can't wait to see the kind of transformations it will carry forward, because I believe it's here to stay. Just like everything new we should take it in with precaution - watching something fictional so close to your eyes for more than 20 minutes might cause eye as well as psychological problems in the future. So as we embrace the new and awesome, let's take it in with moderation. That said, I promise all those who are yet to watch a VR film, your first will be surreal. If you have watched one before feel free to share how your experience was.

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Experiencing The Synergy Of Sama Eden


The soothing music draws you in. The place looks really different from the last time you were here. It feels like it was just the other day, but it's not. India happened and it's 4 months later.

That's The Alchemist bar for you.  You wonder if you are the only one who asks yourself if its name was inspired by Paulo Coelho's book. Also, you think of how you really need to reread his book - it was an ocean of wisdom.
 It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon, around 1 p.m and the place is buzzing with activity. You meet Sarah at the entrance. Her warm hug welcomes you in. You are already soaking in all the awesomeness that the merging of the two brands, Sama Paints and the Eden Yard, have manifested.

The vendors are all set, some are talking to curious art enthusiasts. The rest of the crowd is just chilling, jamming to the awesome music that drew you in just a while ago. The vibe in this place is so good.
I mean, but what do you expect with such music and dope vendors like Zero By Zawadi who have yoga inspired merchandise right there for you to marvel at.

Photo credit: Zero by Zawadi

You fall in love with Zawadi's Sayaris; they are the African version of harem pants, that can also be worn as jumpsuits. And what's even doper, they are unisex! 

You try on 2 purple ones thanks to Faith a former classmate in a Creative Entrepreneurship class you attended last year. She works with Zawadi now.

Zawadi, also has some lovely yoga mat holders. You itch to ask the question, why yoga? And when you finally yield to the urge, she tells you that yoga and meditation have had a huge impact in her life. You don't wanna probe, even though that statement leaves you even more curious.  
You meet Edmond and he mentions that you look familiar. He is a vendor too and he is there with Santana Monda, the owner of House of Sahara. They have lovely furniture but you fall in love with this cutie; she's perfect for your bedroom.  You hope your pesky siblings will finally read and obey.

After a couple of minutes, you remember where you met Edmond. He was the youngest vendor at the Art In The Wild event at Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters 2 years ago.

You catch up and find out some really interesting stuff about him. Stuff like his decision to stop watching telly and how consequently his photographic memory has improved so much that he can draw a friend from memory. You pick his contacts and promise to keep in touch. His story should one day feature here.

Artfordable Kenya

Speaking of stories you meet these really passionate guys. They strive to make beautiful art affordable, thus the name of their brand. Teddy Ngando from Artfordable Kenya is keen on explaining to you how they create their intricate prints out of wood cuttings.

What fascinates you the most out of their story, is that they get their raw material for free from local workshops. They basically upcycle waste MDF(Medium Density Fibreboard) pieces by engraving the designs they want on them, applying ink on them and finally transferring the print on to paper. Clearly, anything is possible under the sun.

Fun Games 

At around 2.30pm, people start playing board games. You join in on the fun and learn a couple of new games - only you forget to ask what the games are called. While playing, you meet this little girl who is so full of life. She joins you and your female friend and you both have a blast watching her say she won every time.

You like how free her guardian seems, she too has a playful spirit. She hula hoops a couple of times next to the person singing at the stage, and she calls your little friend to join her.


You meet Max from the rock band Rash and exchange pleasantries. You were in campus together. He too is asked to go and play the guitar for a bit. Muthoni the Drummer Queen is also in the house. She is just here to chill. Later during the day, you spot her playing with one of the vendors' kid. So sweet.

More people are encouraged to go and sing on the stage. Anyone can go and at some point Edmond answers the call. You like how comfortable  he looks on stage. Talk about being grounded.

Grounded by Bree

Other than helping, you feel grounded and one with mother nature via the plants in her beautifully designed pots. Bree also contributes to the environment by recycling those big old plastic soda bottles and using cement to come up with the creamish-white flower pots you can see above. Here's to staying ever present to our connection to mother nature.

Thank you for staying present with me this long. I hope you've felt the richness of what was The Sama Eden January edition 2018. Lots more things went down and this is only a sample of the whole experience. More opportunities are coming up for you to experience all this awesomeness in person. I sure hope to see you there next time.

Until then,

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