April 19, 2013

Tucked away

As with any large cosmopolitan city, some of the best spots in Nairobi are tucked away in un-advertised corners.  

Kuona ("To see" in Kiswahili)

Kuona Trust is a spot I've been meaning to visit for quite some time, but had been operating under the mis-impression that it was closed on weekends (it is not).  Kuona is something of an artists' cooperative, where painters and sculptors convert used shipping containers of corrugated tin into brightly lit studios, lining the perimeter of a grassy courtyard.  

Shipping containers

There are 2 somethings inverted here...

Larger than life

When the artists are at work in their studio, they leave the door open for visitors to wander in and out, to view or purchase finished pieces, and to admire works in progress.  An everlasting open house.  

Discordant couple


The trust was quiet last Saturday morning, when I finally arranged the time to wander over with a friend.  We loitered around the courtyard for a while, watching the sculptures loiter in turn.  I asked a man sitting in a plastic chair amongst some of the installations if he was the artist, but he loitering as well- relaxing on a cool sunny morning in the presence of art.  

We finally rounded on a studio where the artist was inside, contemplating his work for the day.  He lit up when we came, happy to discuss his paintings, and invited us to make a print with him.  No charge for the wood, the ink, the paper, or his time.  

And thereby, about 5 hours later when the sunny morning had grown into a late-afternoon with threatening clouds, the three of us gazed upon our authentic prints, hanging in an artists' studio.  

Sketching the first draft

Inking some giraffes

My final prints

Kindly note that none of the pictures of artwork posted here are permitted for copy or resale (including my own!  But more importantly those of the professional artists).


  1. Dear Kara,
    I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and come back to it often looking for new posts.
    My family and I will be moving to Nairobi in the middle of July. Several places from your posts made it on my very fast growing "places to visit" list.
    Thank you for fun posts!

    1. Thanks for the note, Auste. I'm glad you are finding the site helpful!


  2. Fantastic photos!