The “Art Salon 523”, a group art exhibition opened at The Kobo Trust in Nairobi on August 18.  Put together by the Kobo artists, also known as the Seven Artists- Timothy Ochola, Rasto Cyprian, Paul Njihia, Nadia Wamunyu, Onesmus Okamar, Onyis Martin, Iona McCreath, Lemek Sompoika, David Thuku, and Taabu Munyoki- the show rethinks alternative ways artworks can be displayed.
A total of 84 pieces of art from 18 artists were showcased at the gallery.
Mixed media artist Onyis Martin tells us what the creative process that went into arranging the pieces and what they hoped to achieve through this exhibition.

Nafsi: What is Art Salon 523?
Onyis: It is a concept that gives artists the freedom to exhibit in unconventional spaces, away from the normal art gallery spaces. It is like a pop-up. This concept asks, “How else can art be displayed?”
We know how art is exhibited at Maasai Market and it is popular because of the prices. People now have a chance to experience that chaotic display here, but at normal gallery prices. The 523 represents Kobo’s physical address along Riara road.

Artists David Thuku and Wanjohi Maina at the event. Photo Courtesy: The Kobo Trust

Nafsi: We were happy to see you and your fellow artists arrange the pieces. It seemed to be a thoughtful and fun process and we are curious to know, what informed how pieces of art were displayed for this show?
Onyis: Generally, there are politics as to how artworks are displayed and what we get when they are done in a certain way. This show brought together the gallery, studio, and home. Some artworks were neatly arranged on the walls like in art galleries. There are artworks on the floor, leaning against the floor, similar to what you would see in an art studio when artists are creating. We grew up displaying prints or photographs on walls in our homes as you would see here from works by Elna Akware.

We wanted to see how we can display art that connects to the people from this Geography. Bringing all these three spaces together to fit into one is about playing with creative chaos. We mixed all of these to create harmony or disharmony; we leave that to the audience to interpret.

I feel that there is so much going on in this room that if we were to add a sound or video installation, we would have lost our minds. We were going for the chaos.

Art lovers at the event. Photo courtesy: The Kobo Trust

Nafsi: There are a lot of ideas being explored in the art world, whether in terms of employing different styles and mediums when making art or when hosting art events. How important is it for you to keep the art world vibrant?
: We come up with event ideas every month at the least. We were to host an artist hangout with music and nyama choma since we have a good space for that. But Kuona Artists Collective did that only recently. Everyone is trying to push boundaries. If Kuona pushed it, we need to help push it on our end, too. We need to work more together to grow the art world.

Nafsi: That seems to be happening. In many of these exhibitions, a good number of visitors are artists. Visual artists support one another. There were collaborative efforts too with this art salon featuring works by artists who are not from The Kobo Trust.
Onyis: Definitely. There were works by Peter Elungat, Nedia Were, Michael Musyoka, Dickson Kaloki, Cyrus Kabiru, Dennis Muraguri, Fitsum Berhe, and Elnah Akware (an artist who was in residence at Kobo a few weeks ago).

The pieces by some of these artists, including ours, were collected from years back. We brought the old works into this space to juxtapose them with new pieces so that the audience can see how much has changed. For instance, a piece by Fitsum Berhe was created in 2015. Today, Fitsum is very colourful. The aim was to see where we have come from, where we are, and possibly project where we are going.
The idea keeps evolving; perhaps the next art salon is going to be different.

Some two decades ago, Anthony Okello was making art with the hope that one day he would find his own style.

He did.

Now, his works are easy to spot from a gallery of paintings. His solo show, “Between Losing and Finding”, opened on June 25 and is to end on July 24 at One Off Art Gallery in Nairobi. A total of 13 artworks curated by Carol Lees, is on display. This show is a moment for him to introspect his artistic journey of getting lost in myriads of styles to find what best spoke to his craft. Anthony uses oil on canvas, and a palette knife for a textured look. The dull colours add to the focus of the moods of the images. This informs his artistic style.

‘Their Glorious Selves’ by Anthony Okello

Okello He began his creative journey as a graphic designer. It was a completely different form of expression for him as he used flat colours, which involved a neat and uniformed approach. Painting, which he later picked, required another creative output from him.

“I had to develop my own style as a painter. Over the years, I had to listen to everything, experiment on a lot of things, learn everything, and then go within to listen to what I wanted. No place can an artist express their style. Sometimes an artist has to go deep within to know their style,” he says.

He came up with his personal style and introduced it to the world through his first solo show ‘Okello Recent Paintings’.
“God made sure that I did not have anything else to occupy my time with at the time so that I could put all my energy into creating art. He denied me everything so that I could solely do this. This was the time in my life that I became more serious as an artist,” he reflects.

Even after finding his style, Okello still had moments where he doubted his skills, enhanced them, while taking risks. Some of his previous works have explored tribal mythologies and identity.
“Art has its own timing. I have had ideas before which needed me to first improve my skills. I have had those instances where I did not know what I was doing but with my personal journey, experience as an artist, and continuous learning, I was able to express those ideas in my art,” he says.

The “Between Losing and Finding” exhibition immerses both the artist and the audience into a contemplative experience. It brings bereavement into focus through ‘The Heaviness’, created after he went through a personal loss. Okello also poses a question to the audience in ‘Which Side?’ and ‘Prayer Pearls’, works that give them the freedom to think about their identity and where they draw theirs from.

‘Which Side’ by Anthony Okello
‘The Heaviness’ by Anthony Okello
‘Prayer Pearls’ by Anthony Okello
‘Is At Least’ by Anthony Okello

What is the one thing that Okello hopes the audience will take away from this show?
“The Journey.”

The author of ‘Mti wa Milele’, ‘The Colour Magician’, ‘The Forever Tree’, among several others, talks about how reading has had an impact in her career as a performance storyteller, seeing her tour different parts of the country and the world, sharing stories. Wangari Grace is also a literary advocate and a co-founder of All for Books, a collective of passionate readers and literati promoting reading for pleasure.

What are you currently reading?

Wangari I’m reading ‘Once there was a Star’ by Kenyan writer Meshack Yobby. It explores the history and power struggle in Somalia through the loves, the laughs, the tears and lives of a family living there.

What other books are on the top of your to-read list?

Wangari The past two years have been hectic for me hence I have quite a number of pending books on my bookshelf that I’m planning to read hopefully sooner than later. They include ‘The First Woman’ and ‘Manchester Happened’ by Jennifer Makumbi, three titles from the ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’ series and a half read of ‘Pachamama Tales’ by Argentinian storyteller Paula Martin.

How do you select the books you read?

Wangari I’m very random about the books to read. It can be a cover or synopsis that catches my eye, a suggestion from friends, or an interesting review. The first chapters then inform on whether I’ll read it to the end.

What are some of the titles that you have recommended?

Wangari I only recommend books that I have read and genuinely enjoyed. Mostly titles by Kenyan authors- Kinyanjui Kombani, Muthoni Muchemi, Shaleen Keshavjee, Karimi Gatimi, Zoya, Hillary Namunyu and so many more. I especially love suggesting titles people can buy especially for their children. There is a lot of beautiful Kenyan writing and writers to explore.

Can you remember the first book you have ever read?

Wangari I grew up around books because my mother was very keen on reading. Therefore I had numerous books including those in my mother tongue, that’s how I learnt to read and write in the language. However, my very first chapter book that I vividly relished was ‘The Adventures of Thiga’ by C M Mureithi when I was seven years old. Man, the adventures of the character, Thiga, had me hanging on a cliff throughout. Of course, the Pacesetter series was a favorite as I grew up.

How has early reading played a role in your performance storytelling?

Wangari I was an extremely introverted child. Reading gave me the chance to interact with the characters in my mind since I couldn’t do so freely with other children. My mother would buy me storybooks written in Kikuyu language. We would read and learn how to sing the songs. Reading has impacted me so much that when I became a professional, I knew I wanted to tell interesting stories and a story that I read when I was young, ‘The Noisy Hornbill’ was the first I have ever performed. Looking back, I could now see the benefit of havign a parent as a reader. I passed that onto my daughter who has been reading, attending my performance events and speaks fluently for her age.

Do you look to yourself when reading a book?

Wangari When reading, I prefer to let the story draw me into its world. Of course, sometimes I identify or get attached to some characters and therefore get very invested in what is going on in their lives. When I’m writing, I love to draw inspiration from different lived experiences, could be mine, of people that I know or even random strangers I meet as I go about my day. Sometimes I also do actual research especially when I am working on situations that I’m not familiar with.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Wangari Writing both energizes and exhausts me. When the ideas are flowing, the characters and plot is just falling in place I’m usually on a writing high and can be obsessed for hours. Of course this is mentally taxing and I always look forward to my downtime. Also, I don’t have a writing schedule, say a certain number words per day. I prefer rolling over ideas in my mind and create scenarios then getting down to the writing when the bug strikes.

What is one of your most memorable quotes from a book ?

Wangari “The mind was a curse: its ability to go back in time to regret and hop into the future to hope and worry was not a blessing” – ‘Kintu’, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.

What are your go-to genres?

Wangari I’m big on folktales and traditional stories from around the world. Being a performance storyteller, this is no surprise. I also read a lot of children’s books. I love investigative stories so this is another genre that reels me in.

Decluttering your home, mental space or life is an endless journey. As used items start to tear, new stuff is brought into your space or a new style is adopted, you are likely to declutter as many times as you want. These days, many people are habitually purging clutter from their homes during different times of the year and towards its end. Where do you start if you have not yet cleared your space for a while? While there is not one method, this guide comes in handy for an organized process.

Happy new month! Do let us know if you will try the challenge with us!

There are 12 zodiac signs. And they are grouped into four zodiac elements: Water, Air, Fire, and Earth. While anyone can be who they want to be, these astrology elements reflect the innate personalities of the zodiac signs under them. They affect our personality and behavior, for example, ways to reset when we need to. Constant rejuvenation too is important. In fact, the most ideal way is to regularly restore oneself and not necessarily wait for the cup to run empty.

So, how can you rejuvenate based on your element?

Water signs

Many people undoubtedly love the ocean. For a Water sign, going to the ocean is instinctive. As a Pisces, Cancer, and a Scorpio, you are likely to crave the waters when you want to press pause.

You feel the most refreshed when you around water bodies. Dipping in the sea, watching the waves hit your feet, or have an intimate picnic can leave you restored. If the thought of visiting a lake, sea, ocean, or a river as a weekend getaway crossed your mind, then this is an affirmation. Aside from being around water bodies, you also feel the most alive when you engage in deep emotional connections. Reconnecting with loved ones is that antidote.

Fire signs

Photo by @gwethphotography on IG/ courtesy

Adventure and spontaneity is the name of the fame for Fire signs. These are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.

As a Fire sign, you are led by fiery passion, energy, and thrill. You are enthusiastic about hopping onto vibrant parties (well, small and safe) or go on a road trip to an unfamiliar place for the kick of it. Your aggressive and competitive nature makes extreme sports like bungee jumping, zip lining, paintball and mountain biking very much ideal for you. You would need to break monotony to recharge your soul. For a light activity over the weekend, you can also try out a new hobby. This can still surge adrenaline that would rejuvenate you.

Air signs

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Air signs are birds of the zodiac. These are Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra.

You are a free thinker and thrive in nonconformity. For an Air sign, you enjoy a walk in the forest or a hike in the mountains to breathe the fresh air. While you can also bask in the morning sun at the ocean and go on road trips, these activities are driven by the need for some air. You will wonder at the blue waters and especially the vast, space above it that represents freedom. You are likely to enjoy opening the car windows when driving on road trips for airflow. Feeling the light breeze can be the best thing about that long drive for you. Apart from this, you can explore activities centered on creative freedom and mental stimulation. You love to go to see places that are rich in art like architectural sites, museums, and art galleries, or excite your mind by reading about things that are of interest to you.

Earth signs

Photo by Brock Wegner on Unsplash

We think that the Earth whispers its secrets to these signs. If there is anything about the Earth that the world is yet to know, we can ask a Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorns. These signs rejuvenate their best then they are close to the Earth. They are grounded, composed, and stable signs. For you who is one, familiarity and security are a big deal for you. These probably guide you when making choices, such as how to refill your cup. Self-care to you looks like going on a nature trail, a walk in the park, yoga at the beach, or sitting quietly by the falls. And if you would like to do a simpler activity, gardening at home is one of the things to consider.

It has been a long time since our last post and we missed you. We hope that you are living a blissful life full of ease and you are constantly restored. See you here. Happy Saturday!

Kamaliza Reads Library collects books by Black Women writers for people to read. Meet Rwanda’s first all-black women library.

You are going to find all kinds of books by Black women authors at the Kamaliza Reads Libray in Kigali, Rwanda. Named after a great female Rwandan female writer, some of the collections include books by Helen Oyeyemi, Toni Morrison and Nnedi Okorafor.

Sistah Circle Collective, a group of passionate women running it, describes the library as “radical, love and revolution.” They speak more about it, boldly.

What is the story behind the name, Kamaliza Reads?

SCC The library is named after an iconic Rwandan woman artist, the late Annonciata Mutamuriza (stage name Kamaliza).

Kamaliza is vital to the story of Rwanda, Rwandan women, and Rwandan art. As a woman who has helped us memorialize, materialize Rwanda’s liberation history through oral history, I think she challenges what we portray today as “theory”, which oftentimes silences or erases the important ways we document lives as Africans.

A number of things: what the library stands for, the choice of name, the books, and having this as a women-managed space are all correlated. There is some thought put into this.   

We wanted the name to match the politics of the library and be rooted in communal understandings of liberation. 

We also wanted the name to be a continuation of what we hope the library is doing- highlighting Black women and their work and lastly a name that challenges Western ways of knowing and producing knowledge.

Photo courtesy: Kamaliza Reads

Kamaliza’s voice echoes in the library in what ways?

SCC She reminds us that there are multiple ways of organizing, knowing, and creating knowledge. She reminds us how important African ways of knowing, rooted in Oral histories are valid and necessary.

That work produced through art- song, dance, painting, proverbs, stories, etc. are theory and deserve a space that doesn’t analyze them through the lens of whiteness.

She reminds us that when we go back to this (or works produced by us), we will always hear from our ancestors that we have always been here. And that’s the main take away from the name and this space- that we, Black women; cis, trans, queer folks, non-binary and GNC- we have always been here. 

What gap does Kamaliza Reads meant to fill?

SCC When growing up, some of us were avid readers, picking up any book, a comic, a novel, instructions on a box, anything. However, one thing we all have in common is that we didn’t relate too much to the stories we were reading. 

It’s only years later that picking up Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s or Yaa Gyasi’s book showed us we have always been reading other people’s stories. 

Photo courtesy: Kamaliza Reads

It is highly significant to read stories written for us, to see ourselves in book characters.

SCC Yes. There is a strong sense of confidence, love, peace, and relief that one feels when represented. Up until now, there are a few libraries in Rwanda, some of them not being easily accessible to all. 

These libraries do not have enough black women authored books. That was our motivation. For black girls to grow up reading about people that look like them, that talk like them, that feel like them and that live like them. For black women experiences to be documented and not left in translation like our ancestors’.

For black women’s works and stories to never be forgotten and/or erased. This is what primarily motivated us to set up an All Black Women Library and essentially make it easily accessible to all.

We just knew for the revolution to happen and be sustained, we had to have more people educated or politically aware. And there is no point at all in gatekeeping these resources.

Part of this work is to make sure we all understand the various issues at hand, how they are created, that is their histories, how they are maintained, and so on.

This is a powerful vision, how was that experience of bringing it to life?

SCC The initiative was dreamed of during the summer of 2019. 

Dreaming of a labor of love like this is work in itself. Putting it into words and then the action is another. It took time to fund-raise, we made a whole campaign for that via gofundme to get the first books we ever used. We fund-raised on socials and also during our free awareness events. 

Everything we do is community given. We made sure to communicate the vision of the library and encouraged folks to donate if they felt this was a project, they felt was necessary. We opened Kamaliza Reads in January actually—it’s funny a lot of people think it was launched in October. We just had to close down because of COVID-19 and then re-opened in a new location after spaces were allowed to reopen. 

Photo courtesy: Kamaliza Reads

How does the library operate, for instance in the collection of the books?

SCC The library operates on a community grassroots fund-raising way. Everything we have is donated by the community and those who support our community. 

The library space is donated by a Black woman and the books are donated or the money is. The time of the curators and volunteers is also donated. We wanted to make sure we could expand so we developed a way that borrowing would be accessible to most/ if not all. 

There is a sliding scale fee for borrowing a book (students and working folk friendly) and an option for a monthly subscription. You can also pay for (donate) someone else’s subscription to help flatten the curve. We recognize that even though the fee is low, it doesn’t mean everyone can afford it so we still want to be vigilant about that. 

The most someone can borrow a book for is a month (renewals are upon agreement). Again, we want to recognize that the library is run by young Black girls donating their time and are passionate and learning about feminist politics and all this is made possible through them.

What was the process like in collecting books?

SCC We made our book wish list available and made a book suggestion drive too so the books we planned to buy were displayed and if you wanted to donate some, you could. The money we got, we bought the books and shipped them to Rwanda with the help of friends and comrades of the collective. 

Another way we were able to get funds to buy books is through other community organizations fundraising for us. That support, to this day, melts our hearts. We also had collective members across the globe who were able to receive donations via shipment also easily. 

One thing for sure we wish was different and would make everything easier was if shipping wasn’t such a struggle. Sometimes, shipping a book costs 10 times the amount you buy it. So, when you think about it, it becomes such a loss. It’s for this reason we usually just do two shipments throughout the year. It helps us save on shipment and buy more books. 

Photo courtesy: Kamaliza Reads

What many more books do you have on the shelves? 

SCC Some books include Bell Hooks, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Chimamanda Ngozi, Buchi Emecheta, Ifi Amadiume and Oyeronke Oyewumi collections. 

We have poetry books ranging from Nayirrah Waheed to Upile Chisala, from June Jordan and Ntozake Shange to Sonia Sanchez, from Ijeoma Umebinyuo to Koleka Putuma, and so forth. 

We are also particularly keen on providing space for Rwandan women writers like Sylvie and Yvonne Mukasonga as well as Celine Uwineza. We are also thrilled to be able to offer Ni Nyampinga magazines for folks to read through as they are written for young Black Rwandan girls sharing a lot about the culture and the life they go through.

We have classics like “Sister Killjoy”, “I know why the Caged Bird Sings” and “So Long a Letter” by pioneering Black African women who we consider having paved the way for us today and work by Sylvia Tamale that continues to guide us in Black African feminism.

Why are these collections crucial at this time?

SCC They offer theory in various ways and offer us a way to start things about intersections between race, gender, class, colonialism, and sexuality among other things. We hope by doing this we can communicate that Black women everywhere have been theorizing- the songs, the books, the art- all of it is how we make sense of and name our experiences and that is important because it reminds us that we have always been here and we still are. 

We also want to start the conversation about global Black solidarity that is rooted in understanding first the political experiences of other Black women and then moving towards tangible support. Blackness and womanhood are plurals and we must construct and discuss it as such.

How has the community’s experience been when interacting with the library?

SCC When we opened in January, we were joined by so many wonderful people and we put on a panel discussion and an art performance.

We were amazingly surprised by how the community received it, wanted to be part of this moment and the love they intentionally poured onto the library. Not only did they support us when we launched but the community continues to show up. With our re-opening, we are thrilled that still and even more people are happy about it. Offering to donate books as well as stopping by the library to borrow some. It’s been a tremendous experience so far. And we’re hoping it only gets better from here as well.

What more books specifically do you wish to have at the library?

SCC We want to add more books about LGBTQIA folks in Africa by Black women and on disability. We want to add books that offer tools to start thinking critically on socio-economic class and class struggle.

We want to add more books in French and Swahili written by Black women through the feminist lens. Not everyone in Rwanda speaks English, you know. 

We would love to add more books about Haiti, Brazil, and Colombia as spaces that offer a lot of knowledge on race and gender and the history of the African. We want to be able to have developed genres; a section for young Black children (3-12 years).

It is important and we want books speaking to music as a space for knowledge production- speaking to Gakondo, reggaetón, jazz, blues, and so on, and locating women in them. We were only able to start with about 130-150 books, so we have so much room to expand. We want all the books.

What is your vision for Kamaliza Reads?

SCC We hope that we can grow Kamaliza Reads to where it becomes an integral part of our community. We hope schools in Kigali can use it as a resource for their students both high school and university students. Where students can use the books in the library to inform their projects and research. We are especially hoping that the library can grow and have at least branches outside of Kigali. 

Taking this project outside Kigali and maybe into schools in other provinces can allow for us to start having these discussions in spaces that are different and most in need and even train each other to grow this fire.

We hope we’ll continue to bridge the gap between Black women in Rwanda and the diaspora- that we will continue to bring the authors of these books to life and here in Rwanda. We, as Rwandan Black feminists and scholars and organizers have a lot to offer and we want to hear from Black women elsewhere too. 

Lastly, we hope it will also inspire Black Rwandan women to write because best believe it, we will always have a place for you on the shelf and will encourage the community to read what you have to say. And maybe expand to other countries like Kenya and Uganda, why not.

Thinking about what your next read is going to be? Author and editor Peter Ngila Njeri shares five reads worth considering. 

Peter Ngila Njeri takes daily evening walks. Sometimes long aimless strolls are all he needs to refresh his mind and see around the world. Other times he does with a book in his hand.

An author of “Changing the World While Changing Diapers” (co-written with Isabell Kempf) and an editor, Peter has been reading all his life. His primary goal of reading is to interact with different cultures. 

How does he pick a book?

“It depends on many things,” he said. “I am yet to read books I got in 2013. I still buy more. It is a bookish thing.”

While feeling stuck in the process of editing manuscripts of other writers, he reads a book. He reads diversely: books by African writers, classical to translated novels. 

Translations are his medium of reading around the world.

“I believe the world is bigger than English. There are many great books first written in other languages. Translations allow me to read those kinds of books,” he said. 

For all book lovers looking for the next read, Peter offers some of his best choices.

“House of Stone” by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma 

Describing it as one of the great books by a young writer, it centers on identity and history.

“It is one of those books which hooks you with its first sentence,” he states.” The plot goes back in time and back to the present moment. It was very multi-layered and gripping.”

After finishing reading the book, it had to take Peter two weeks before he could get to another one.

You can get it here-

“The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón translated from the Spanish by Lucia Graves

It is a historical novel with multiple settings in the middle of a Spanish civil war. The book is set in Barcelona. It was while reading it that I discovered the city is also a character in the novel.

From its story, it shows the impact books can have on one’s life. This book has different points of view. 

It is like a book in a book, a book about books. Here-

“Kafta on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel

Peter read a borrowed copy of the book two years ago. One of the longest books he has ever read (615 pages), he did so in a week. The book has lots of dialogue and has elements of surreal. 

“It is a good choice to read in your lifetime. It is one of the books that has had people convinced that Haruki should win a Nobel Prize in Literature,” he says. 

Shop here-

“Under the Udala Trees” by Chinelo Okparanta

Terming it as a modern classic, Peter enjoyed its theme around sexuality because “sexuality is part of our identity as human beings.” 

He also loved the novel’s backdrop set during the Biafra War that took place in Nigeria in the 60s.

He also loved how Chinelo has employed the theme of tribal boundaries in the story.

You can get the novel here

“The Shadow District” by Arnaldur Indridason translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb

It is a historical crime novel set in “one of the most wondrous places in Iceland. The writer manages to move from the past to the present day. The characters of the present day affect the ones in the past.”

He looks forward to re-reading it.

Shop here:

Have you ever read translated books? Which ones were they?

The Nairobi art scene has become vibrant again. Sculptors, pencil artists, painters and photographers are back to creating and displaying pieces in galleries.

This was not the case in March. The pandemic affected the culture and arts industry. Galleries closed. Concerts and exhibitions were put on hold. Creatives then took up spaces digitally.

Picha Images presented the first virtual photo and art exhibition titled “Africa Covid Exhibition”. Installation artist Wambui Kamiru Collymore hosted #ArtistConversations on her Instagram page. Several art competitions were held.

Presently, physical exhibitions are now opening.

Recent exhibitions were Camille Wekesa’s “Lattice” at Red Hill Art Gallery. Michael Musyoka’s “Time and Other Constructs” at One Off Contemporary Gallery. Michael Soi and Thom Ogonga’s “Sex and the City IV” at Alliance Francaise. A pop -up exhibition at Village Market.

There are more this weekend. Here are some of the shows we can catch up on this weekend.

Boniface Maina: ‘Waiting, Watching, Wishing’

  • Where: Circle Art Gallery
  • When: October 28 to November 18, 2020

Boniface’s body of work explores changes to everyday life. For instance, the paintings portray his characters in bondage, desolate and helpless situations. Some move about while others sit on the floor with ropes tied around their bodies.

Paul Kariuki Munene: ’10|20|30′

  • Where: Alliance Francaise
  • When: October 8 to October 31, 2020

Paul has been documenting the live music scene in the past decade. Here, he presents a collection of 30 black and white photos of performances.

Some of the musicians captured are Achieng’ Abura, Juma Tutu, Makadem, Sauti Sol and Karun.

Then and Now

  • Where: One Off Contemporary Gallery
  • When: October 31 to Novermber 22, 2020

This group exhibition features 18 artists and it opens this Saturday.

The artists are Peter Ngugi, James Mbuthia, Simon Muriithi, Sophie Walbeoffe, Richard Kimathi, Bertiers, Camille Wekesa, Anthony Okello, Kyalo Justus, Mary Collis, Beatrice Wanjiku, Thom Ogonga, Peterson Kamwathi, Xavier Verhoest, Mandy Bonnell, Timothy Brooke, Syowia Kyambi and Patrick Mukabi.

Affordable Art Show

  • Where: Nairobi National Museum
  • When: October 30 to November 1, 2020

More than 125 pieces are on sale at this annual art display. You would be required to make an appointment for today’s visit or walk in any time without one during the weekend.

The Kenya Museum Society organized the event and the proceeds will go towards supporting the National Museums of Kenya.

Michael Soi: ‘No Country for Black Folk’

  • Where: Montague Contemporary, New York
  • When: October 16 to November 6, 2020

He explores different subjects such as racial injustices, xenophobia, economic disparity and corruption.

While this exhibition is physically displayed in another part of the world, you can see it online here

We wish you a fulfilling weekend!

Join us for our parent-child book club!

It is a place for young readers, parents and caregivers, and book lovers of all ages to meet, explore and discuss more children’s books.

Every month, one child will pick a book to be our Read of the Month. The rest of the children will also be invited to share their favourite reads too. Every child will have the chance to choose the reads for every month.

We will meet authors whenever possible, hopefully cultivate a deeper culture of reading in the children around us, and talk about their experiences.

Please sign up by using the subscription box on our homepage to receive updates.

Ideas are welcome as we find ways on how we can all converge and get to know one another, presently, online.

Happy reading!

Happy International Literacy Day!

It is such an exciting day for the world of books. This celebration is marked every September 8 across the globe to help spread awareness on the valuable impact of literacy. It also aims to pay attention to the issues that contribute to low literacy levels in communities.

Declared by UNESCO, the first celebration took place in 1967. And many decades later, this year’s theme is one of a kind, “literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.”

We can all play a part in promoting literacy in one way or another. Here are some of the ways to do so.

Review a book. You probably have opinions about a book you have read. How about sharing them?

Read to a child. Instilling a reading culture while they are young is impactful. 

Explore a genre that is new to you. Be curious about different genres. Try out science fiction, fantasy, autobiographical, political thrillers, satires, any genre you would not normally pick.

Promote a book. Sing praises about some of the books you truly loved reading. Give a shout-out to your favourite authors. 

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

Read a book. Devour a chapter of a new book, re-read one of your favourite books, finish a book you love.

Recommend a book. Informing other readers about a book is likely to get some of them develop an interest in them. There are times that people do not know which other book to get next. Shared recommendations come in handy.

Donate a book to a library. Mukuru Library and Book Bunk which is restoring the three McMillan Memorial Libraries are accepting books. Look around to also see many other community libraries and individuals who are in need of books. 

Photo by @qu.lit / courtesy

Gift a book to your loved ones, to a stranger, to anyone. 

Buy a book

Start a book club. Virtual book clubs are becoming a thing now, it can still be successful whether you meet on Zoom or on social media. 

Begin collecting books. If this has been a dream hobby of yours, pursue it. Collect books for charity or for your own home library. Collect.

Photo by Alireza Kazemi on Unsplash

Reorganize your stack of books. Dust off your bookcase, rearrange the books in size, colour or any other form as you wish. Give it a facelift.

Support your local bookstore. You can do this by telling other people about the store, buying books and stationeries from the store, pre-ordering books and partaking in their activities such as hosted book clubs.

Amplify organizations that are centered on building literacy in our communities.

Build more awareness around books. Share about your experiences as a reader, benefits of reading, steps that need to be taken to promote literacy, and so on.

We would like to know, how are you going to celebrate the day?