High School Fantasy

A couple weeks ago, while on the subject of "cool artistic spaces", we learned about Kuona Trust from a friend who described it as a fellowship of artists.  Having had entertained the thought of being an artist once upon a time in my life, my interest was certainly piqued and so we made a mental note to check out the place in the near future.  

This past Sunday, T found out that Kuona Trust was holding an event in celebration of SWAN Day, which I later learned is an international holiday to Support Women Artists Now.  As it was not too far from our house, we decided to walk despite the threat of a sudden downpour (the rainy season is upon us).  Luckily, the sun persevered throughout our trip and upon arriving, I found it to be the stuff of my high school fantasies.  Thirty studio spaces housed in converted shipping containers bordered the lawn of a house that is used as a gallery space among other things.  Strewn among the grass, the trees, and in every possible corner, you could find works in progress or scavenged scraps of great potential... old glass bottles, rusty gears, gnarled tree roots, and even a fiberglass cow.

We found the doors of every studio to be open and while it was not obvious at first whether we were invited to enter, eventually we drew up enough courage to gently walk within them.  There were no walls or lines to delineate where one studio begins or ends and yet it was easy to see the borders clearly.  Each space appeared to be as distinct and individual as the personalities to which they belonged.  While I love museums, there is an element of intimacy and context that can only be gained from visiting an artist's studio.  I appreciated how you could almost see each artist's process and evolution unfold before your eyes.  There were a number of works I wished to capture but as it was unclear whether photographs were allowed, I only had the courage take a few before I crumbled under the fear and guilt.

If you find yourself in Nairobi and have any interest in Kenyan art, I highly recommend that you seek this place out.  It appears that they frequently hold events but you don't necessarily have to wait for the next one to go.  Kuona Trust is open to the public everyday of the week from 10am to 5pm. 


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