Arvind Vohora’s “Wall Art in Kenya” Book launch @the MJ Centre

23 years on and I can see, the relevance of his work.Its true History never looks like history when you are living through it. I grew up looking at this art but now its no longer there, as Michael Joseph put it ” We ( Safaricom & Corporate Kenya ) are responsible for ruining the Wall Art in Kenya. ” because its true every Shop in the rural area where this form of art was abundant is either covered with a Splash of green and a Safaricom Logo or its In Red with Airtel branding all over or its OMO or its Coke or some other brand. U could argue that it created more jobs because Corporate Branding offers a more sustainable income, buts still what is Life without Art! I read somewhere that the aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life, I doubt that my little Kaya will see this Art’s Life.

I remember visiting the barber shop in Buru Buru as a kid and choosing a hairstyle of a wall which had a myriad of different styles Painted, I used to love MC hammer so during the schoolholidays I would choose the MC Hammer style which had Slits on the either side. Now i go to the barber and they have photos of Singers/Actors/Athletes with different Hairstyles to choose from…Same in the Butchery, you go and all u see are Photoshoped pictures of a disected Cow with all its limbs and parts in crystal clear Photographs, in my younger days u would choose your choice piece from the Wall art doning the butchery showing the Legs, Liver etc. So much has changed in just 23 years, guess its hightime we so called photographers did our part and actually documented parts of our culture for future reference and for History. What we see around us is only here for a brief period.

I later only realised that I hadnt taken a picture of the great man so i picked this one from the capital website.

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Thanks Arvind, thanks for preserving parts of our Kenyan Culture. The book is currently on sale in all major book stores with a hard cover version also available.  Let us all learn to preserve our Culture whichever way we can.

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Culture is roughly anything we do and the monkeys don’t.  ~Lord Raglan

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