During my recent stay in Nairobi for the exhibition "Creations for purpose", I managed to free up some time to discover art galleries and craft markets.
Kenya is a destination known for its savannahs, lakeside areas and mountainous areas. However, this country also has an incredible cultural richness.
Here are my top picks amongst the numerous places to discover Nairobi’s artistic and cultural scene.
1. Circle Art Gallery
It’s a beautiful bright and spacious gallery with a garden in which are exposed sculptures.
Founded in 2012, and based in Nairobi, Kenya, Circle Art Gallery promotes contemporary art from Eastern Africa. Their intention is to create a strong and sustainable art market for East African artists, by supporting and promoting the most innovative and exciting artists currently practicing in the region.
Here are the 3 artists who caught my attention.
Evans Mbugua. I discovered him last summer at the exhibition "Treasures of Africa" in Paris. I like the style and energy of these paintings.
Gor Souda is a Ugandan artist based in Kampala. He works with found and recycled objects in order to create works challenging the country's political situation.
Henry Mzili is an eclectic artist painter, engraver and writer of Ugandan origin. This artwork, whose title is "Afronaut", was exhibited at the 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair.
2. Kioko Art Gallery
I stumbled upon this gallery but it was a nice surprise. A wide selection of contemporary works is exhibited on two levels. The founder, Kioko Mwitiki, is a self-taught pioneer of the recycled scrap metal art. He is best known for his huge real size animal sculptures. Kioko is also an activist dedicated to protecting wildlife.
3. Tribal Art Gallery
Tribal Gallery is a beautiful house - gallery that presents works of art and handicrafts from Africa and Asia. I was able to interact with the founder, who is a very dynamic and committed woman.
The house is full of wonders: rugs, tableware, decoration, textiles, plastic art ... A real gold mine!
4. Masai Market
It’s a must in Nairobi! It takes place on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The schedule does not vary (from 7am until the end of the afternoon) but the location changes depending on the day of the week.
Craftsmen exhibit their creations: jewels, baskets, decorations, clothes ... It’s ideal to get an idea of the Kenyan handicrafts, and impossible to come out empty handed!
5. Spinners Web
It’s a very spacious place, with a wide selection of pieces that can be found on the market, but also more exclusive items. Items are displayed by category in different spaces with the name of the artisans and/or their brands. I found this concept very effective in terms of promoting these artisans.
It’s quiet, well laid out, the prices are shown and there is even a lovely restaurant. Very nice!
I loved this place and I could have spent hours there, had I not been constrained by time.
To see more photos, visit Kelen's instagram.