An Amuse Bouche: Matatus!!
When I first moved to Nairobi at the tender age of 22, each morning, I'd walk to the matatu stage a few blocks from my apartment, lament that I forgot to put on sunscreen (again!!) and wait for the #48B to come hurtling by. I'd often hear it before I saw it, rattling metal parts playing percussion to the blaring hits of moment. A short walk from the iHub, where I was "working," was Kuona Trust (today called the Kuona Collective) -- a studio and gallery space where young Kenyan artists were producing pieces that today live in museums around the world. It's there that I first met Dennis and his matatu obsession.
Born and raised in Naivasha, Dennis went to art school in Nakuru and has been working out of Kuona since 2007. Since the beginning, matatu culture has been his inspiration. I've always loved people who are obsessed with something, anything, and after years of daily matatus across Nairobi and the occasional one across Kenya, it brings me so much joy and pride to be able to share Dennis's vision, and this essential aspect of Kenyan life, with our Zuri community.
If you're in the Bay Area, please join us this Saturday, June 8 from 2-4pm, for a conversation about the history of wax print design and contemporary matatu culture at the Museum of the African Diaspora.
For those of you not able to join, we'll share a video of the event in our newsletter next week, plus we'll share more about the design of this textile from Dennis's perspective.
This month's playlist is a (G-rated) homage to Nairobi Matatu culture--many of these songs can be heard blasting out of the wide-open sliding doors of Nairobi's matatus day or night, rain or shine. So click the link, sync it up, and get ready to bounce!