Showing posts with label Event Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Event Review. Show all posts

Art and Poetry : The Irony of He vs SHe

Flashback: I am 12 and as my girlfriends buy sanitary towels and slowly adjust their wardrobes to the changes happening to their bodies, a different kind of change is happening to my own.

I am not comfortable talking to you about it but my voice is changing. Now I definitely have to say something. It's either that or I remain mute for the rest of my life and even so, it will be a short lived solution.

So here goes, but before I say anything let me make one thing clear, I was born a girl.

I'm a Guevodoce which translates to the growth of the male genitalia at 12. They also refer to me as a Machihembra meaning first a woman then a man.

This is the story of many young children in the Dominican Republic.
Young girls who grow up to become boys.

The Art and Poetry event on Masculinity vs Femininity reminded me of this. Hosted by Ink Overflow, it took place at the Micheal Joseph Center Nairobi on the 18th of June. 

If you got a chance to read what I wrote on the one they did on beauty you'd understand why I was excited  and had to make it for the next one.

Masculinity and femininity is more dual than we realize. A single person can be both masculine and feminine. 

Actually biologically we all have a bit of both in us. The sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are found in everyone; the only difference is that they are found in different proportions.

That is the main issue the Ink Overflow team sort to address this time round. Many other issues that arise when we start categorizing people according to their genders were addressed by the performances we were graced with too. Having arrived a little late I will sample the few I got to watch.

Shikkiey on Feminism

The lights went off when she came on the stage. Then she did a couple of intense dance moves that totally caught my attention. She was joined by another lady who I later found out is called Seise. They recited some of the pieces in sync almost instinctively which was very impressive.

Shikkiey brought to light the fact that there is a difference between feminism and toxic feminism. She took us back to the 1980's during the onset of feminism. It became as a result of the fact that men assumed all power and were reluctant to give women a chance to air their grievances.

It was and should continue being a space for women to come and speak about issues. Issues such as voting  and participating in sports which not too long ago women were not allowed to participate in.

Thus feminism is meant to give hope for a better tomorrow to women rather than spread hate for men.She made it evident that we don't gain by fighting wrong with wrong or hate with hate. In fact we lose. The agenda is what matters than the title womanist, activist or feminist.

She finished her performance by saying, " What a man can do. a woman can do differently not necessarily better. In a world where only women exist the human race would be extinct and if men are trash then women are ashtrays"

Tetu Shani on Father's Day 

He was the surprise artist and boy was the crowd ecstatic. He lived up to and even exceeded expectations if all the applause he got after his performance was anything to go by.

 He started by wishing all the father's in the room a happy father's day. He went on to point out the fact that there are very few songs about fathers.

The few he knew had a not so perfect image of dads. Such as Queen Ifrica's Daddy Don't Touch Me There and Luther Vandross' Dance With My Father.

He told us that maybe the reason he had not written a song about his Dad was because he was not perfect. Then he posed a question to the crowd. Do we just celebrate perfect? Immediately after that he sang a song about his Dad titled An Ode to Pa

He owned the stage and engaged the audience with ease. I still remember joining the crowd chanting ladidadida  mbamba  to one of his songs. It was truly an experience and a half, not forgetting his epic whistling and beatboxing skills.

FUN FACT: Tetu Shani got a scholarship to Berklee College of Music to study performance, but he turned it down. A really bold decision. Echoing his words he explained " Why go where the sun is setting when the Kenyan sun is rising. There are many opportunities here right now and Berklee will always be there but when a window is open it's not open forever"

Abu Sense on 
 Woman is To Man What Man Isn't

He was the headlining act. His first performance was out of this world. He impersonated a Jamaican boy occasionally behaving like a Jamaican woman in this case his mother. His patwa sounded like the real deal. I even got lost a couple of times but I did not care much. His gestures and body movements were hilarious enough to keep me attentive.

His next piece was about gender and gender roles. He spoke of the way we have worked tirelessly to come up with a measure of manliness or womanliness. It's main component has been comparison to one another, meaning individuality is totally exterminated.

He told us about his experience living in multiple households and having learnt the most from the mothers and the daughters. As opposed to fathers and sons who are reclusive and had to play the role to appear wise.

The ladies embraced life to the fullest and if there happened to be tomboy, he would be accepted and plugged in both worlds. Notice the use of the pronoun he, I believe that it was used deliberately. I believe there is power in embracing both your feminine and masculine sides, because she is he and he is she for they contain each other.

As the performances came to an end. Kaatoony was at the back doing his thing.With his  permission I got to take a short video of the whole process. That along with the picture of a happy client. Watch out for his interview and the video.

Thanks to Ivan Irakoze and the Ink Overflow team for yet another successful event. To all that performed we loved you. To those I missed out on I look forward to watching you next time. Until next time.

AA (Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya

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Collateral Beauty Via Art and Poetry

MiCE- the band

Collateral beauty refers to inner beauty, the kind that never fades and that goes hand in hand with an individuals personality. 

By the way have you watched the movie

Well I finally did after wanting to do so for so long. It caused a battle between me and my tears. "Nope I'm not going to cry" I told myself. We all know that what we resist persists. So tears won. 

On the 8th of April ,the Ink Overflow team graced us with an artistic event themed around beauty at the Micheal Joseph Center, Nairobi, Kenya. They gave visual artists, poets and musicians a chance to do what they do best together.



If you wanted to have a caricature of yourself drawn while the poets and musicians did their thing. James a.k.a Kaatoony was there with his art materials waiting for you to ask. 

When my friend and I walked into the Micheal Joseph Center we found Kerosh  (the graffiti artist I introduced you to last month) drawing Kaatoony his former classmate in Art School. Kaatony had already drawn Kerosh and Kerosh was simply returning the favor.

Then there was Ivan the guy who made the whole event possible. He told us that the event was inspired by the movie Collateral beauty. We went to the same campus and I had seen him in poetry events a couple of times. I just had no idea he was a poet himself until early this year. He was the first one on stage and it was really nice watching how his face lit up while he got in the zone.

MiCE the band
They just made me happy from their unique name to their passionate and energetic performance. They are four friends who teamed up to create and learn how to express themselves through different modes of art. I  later find out that MiCE stood for My Inter-missive Creative Escape. 

She repped the poets like a boss. She has a way of capturing your attention and maintaining it.She caught mine when she projected the results of a Google search she had done on beautiful skin and lips.

 After which she went on to dispute those results with a touching piece on the beauty of chocolate skin and that it is a color that is needed in this world too. She touched on major issues many women and girls go through about beauty.

Then she maintained my attention when she took us back to African history and slowly unraveled the achievements of African Queens such as Queen Amina of Nigeria, Queen Nzinga of Angola and Ethiopia's Queen of Sheba.

These women added her story to history. Shingai made us see the beauty these women exuded that went beyond their looks. After her pieces it was evident that history is not just his story but her story too and I thank her for schooling us.

Glady kept the crowd silent and attentive with her unique performance. The two guys playing the guitar and violin set the mood for her pieces. At some point the guy with the guitar sang and I got goosebumps all over. I was not the only one that got touched by his voice cause people cheered him on.

She is a visual  artist who paints because there are stories she wants to tell and sometimes cannot find the words. She did a couple of pieces but the one that stood out for me was the one she did about natural african hair. Having cut her hair a couple of times and grown it back she told me African hair is many things but above all it is pretty.

Thus the reason created the piece of a lady with puffy african hair. Although it should not be, hair is a definition of beauty to many. That's why many women with afro textured hair go to great lengths to "look good". Go on, look lovely ladies but before anything else love what you have, love your beautiful kinky hair.

Ben Soul
He was the last one to perform along with a friend on the piano. He sang and played the guitar soulfully. At some point he even sounded like two people singing together. I found that so cool.

Jonathan told me he is a Fine Arts student at Kenyatta University, he draws inspiration for his work from people. objects and events. He is currently studying interactions contained in body language.He is drawn to communication between individuals, attempting to capture what goes unsaid in people's interactions 

Obfuscate I

The art piece from him that stood out for me was one piece he did that had another piece hidden within. I later found out it was titled obfuscate I.  

He also had a piece of someone holding their belly fat. He told me society's definition of beauty is often slim well toned bodies. He wanted to challenge that with that piece. 

We should love our bodies regardless. That does not mean we leave out healthy living, it simply means truly embracing  our bodies as we journey towards healthier ones.

Walt Whitman's poem Leaves of Grass sums  up the message the Ink Overflow team wanted to pass across. It goes:
"I exist as I am that is enough.
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
and if each and all be aware I sit content.
One World is aware and by far the largest to me and that is myself 
and whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years.
I can cheerfully take it now or in equal cheerfulness I can wait."

We should work on our relationships with our inner selves. That is the only way we can nurture that unwithering inner beauty . So when self defeating thoughts come our way.  Whitman's message I exist as I am and that is enough should  be our mantra. Until next time.

AA(Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya

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