Prior to moving to Nairobi, lots of Kenyan friends told me that the art scene was pretty vibrant here. And while sipping a latte in my local cafe, the rather aptly named Artcaffe, I flicked through the exhibition listings in one of the many what’s on guides to Nairobi and I felt fairly confident that there was indeed a pretty good art scene here.
Among the many galleries listed, there is the Banana Hill Gallery, Circle Art Gallery, One Off Contemporary Art Gallery, the Fundii Centre for Arts, The Art Space, The Shifteye Gallery, The Nairobi Gallery, The GoDown Arts Centre, The Kuona Trust, The Matbronze Wildlife Art Gallery and Foundry, The Polka Dot, the Artz Gallery (Village Market), Diani Beach Art Gallery… to mention but a few.
I thought I would start off with a visit to the Nairobi Art Centre located in Lavington. In addition to raising awareness of art in society, by offering art, craft and design education to children and adults, the centre holds events and themed days – the event we attended was La Primera Fiesta de Nairobi.
Alongside African drumming and dancing, there was Spanish beer, fado, pealla and sangria. People were exhibiting paintings and selling art and design items on numerous craft stalls and there was also an opportunity for children to have a go at doing some of their own art. My three children had a go at using a potters wheel and made some little clay pots, then they tried the abstract but rather messy spin art!
It looks like people were right when they said there was a decent art scene in Nairobi. Over the next few of months I look forward to visiting as many of theses galleries as possible.