Njogu Kuria, Jeremiah Sonko and Jeffie Magina are not impatient guys. But they are artists on the move, who weren’t ready to wait for some donor organization to make a decision art was a worthy project to assistance for a time. Nor did they want to ‘do their thing’ with somebody else’s ‘strings attached.’
They had a goal, a strategy and the passion to carry them via. They wanted to bring up a new generation of young Kenyan artists, sharing their understanding and artistic capabilities with young ones prepared to be mentored by guys extra seasoned in the neighborhood Kenyan art globe than themselves.
And so, what did they do? Kuria and Sonko had currently established Studio Soku (So for Sonko and Ku for Kuria = Soku) in South B some months prior to Jeffie Magina joined in.
Following in the footsteps of artists like Adam Masava of Mukuru Art Club and Boniface Maina, Michael Musyoka, David Thuku and the rest of Brush tu Artists Collective, they located a cosy corner in suburban Nairobi and rented a flat.
Their upstairs 3-bedroom apartment may have seemed an unlikely space to set up what was quickly to grow to be a mentorship education centre and burgeoning artists neighborhood. But that is what has occurred given that final June final year, right after the trio had place out an open contact on social media for artists to come join Studio Soku’s absolutely free 3-month self-funded Mentorship Plan.
“We had been ten from the start out and we have been with each other ever given that,” says Joyce Kuria, who is busy placing final minute touches on the ‘Affordable Art Exhibition’ that is a single facet of Soku’s Open Studio Showcase on 4th May possibly that is also featuring ‘custom-made’ apparel such as hand-painted denim jackets and appliqued jeans.
It may be tricky to picture how the ten (plus many extra) young artists, such as writers, musicians, sculptors, photographers and painters could all be exhibited in the minimalist flat initially meant for Railway workers. But clearly, the group had provided a great deal believed to approaches they could all match into the space.
For instance, many artists such as Joyce, Daisy Buyanzi and Husna Nyathira all painted miniature pieces that match comfortably on the 1st wall that you see as you climb the stairs and enter Studio Soku. Meanwhile, Jeffie also took the minimalist route, generating colourful ‘monster’ stickers that appear like aliens emerging out of his darkest fantasies.
Just subsequent to their performs are many portraits by Kagima Njeri, such as a single he says replicates a single neighborhood musician buddy, but which could quickly pass for an African-conception of Jesus Christ.
One particular of the artists has place his art on a banner that stretches across a single wall, leaving space beneath for other artists like Austin Adika to exhibit his sculptures.
Then there are the 3 bedrooms which have been transformed into rotating studio cum storage spaces that nonetheless handle to have space exactly where paintings by Sonko and mixed media pieces by Njogu can be noticed.
But it is Magina whose inspired hand and heart may possibly be the most conspicuous on Open Day given that he has chosen walls, ceilings and doors as his ‘canvas’ of selection. In the kitchen, for instance, he’s spray-painted colourful styles that look to be telling graphic stories. They are not really in a graffiti-style but they translate the mood of Studio Soku which is a single of exuberance, freedom and joy.
So in spite of the mentorship system possessing technically ended right after 3 months, the mentees continue to understand a great deal from the resident artists who continue to hold them appraised of the exhibitions going on in town and exactly where to go to meet fellow artists at function a great deal as they are.
“We have been to locations like Brush tu, Dust Depo and Kobo Trust,” says Joyce who has been delighted to also understand about art advertising and management at Soku, provided Njogu studied project management at Moi University and Magina is a certified public accountant.
In reality, Joyce and Daisy currently have their personal brand of painting which they contact ‘Wet Paint’. One particular of their performs is providing guests to the Open Studio an chance to see what they do, combining their inventive sources to make intriguing paintings.
Meanwhile, Studio Soko is showcasing artworks the Rwandese artist Jean Baptise Rukundo in a show entitled ‘The Sheep and the Shepherd’ which will open 12 May possibly and run for the month.