KANGAERU: Works on paper


MAMA NI NURU YA NYUMBA
h:76 w:55 cm



HIDIYA YA MAMA HUNIPA MANUFAA
h:76 w:55 cm



UJIRANI NAUPENDA TABIA ZIMENISHINDA
h:76 w:55 cm


KANGAERU: Installation view (Le Rustique)











Kanga Mothers' Collection



















































Kanga Collection























































































KANGAERU: The EastAfrican紙に掲載


東アフリカで広く読まれているThe EastAfrican紙(May 21-27, 2012)に「KANGAERU」展の記事が掲載されています。これまでにカンガを用いた作家のことにも触れており興味深い内容です。

Speech for Opening Reception by Yuriko Uehara

Art Exhibition by Yoshinari Nishio and Nishio Workshop Nairobi
Speech at the Opening Reception, Le Rustique,  4 May 2012

Yuriko Uehara

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for braving the rains and coming to the opening of the solo exhibition by contemporary artist Yoshinari Nishio and his artists’ collective, Nishio Workshop Nairobi.

While this is the first time for Le Rustique to hold an exhibition of a Japanese artist,  Nishio himself is no stranger to Nairobi. In 2009 he established “Nishio Workshop Nairobi” under which he initiated “Self Select Nairobi 2009”: he exchanged clothes with passers-by on the street.  Some of you might have seen the photographs of this performance at RaMoMA.

His interest in clothes and fashion dates back to his childhood. As a rather shy boy, Nishio found it hard to convey his feelings verbally: so, for him, clothing was a means of self-expression as well as communication.  In his view everybody is an artist – one always adorns oneself with something – after all, nobody lives naked…

Nishio’s interest has grown from “wearing the clothing that he fancies to impress/surprise others ” to  “making something together.”  The essence of his art is to constantly question and alter the very relationship between the creator - artist - and the viewers.

Nishio’s enthusiasm for collaborative work and fostering communication is fully displayed in this exhibition.  He chose kanga, traditional fabric in Kenya, to revisit and reconstruct “order” and “the ordinary.” You may know that the title KANGAERU in Japanese means "contemplating and/or transforming kanga."

Here, different patterns of kanga are cut, re-arranged, and re-composed to be born as entirely new pieces. For Nishio, the process is equally important: manual work let people understand and rethink tradition.

Please look at the big piece there – this was created at a workshop held in Korogocho.  He collected old kangas from mamas in the area – about 40 in total – and cut them into small patterns. Then the people picked up the patterns of their choice and placed them on the cloth. About 300 wananchi gathered at the so-called “Freedom Corner,” where three streets meet, to complete this work.

What strikes us is a kind of harmony radiating from this piece, considering that so many people worked freely without any instruction from the artist – Nishio confirmed me so!  When strangers gather and mix to work together, they produce something concordant, rather than dissonant. I personally found it very interesting: instead of lengthy talks, world leaders might wish to make artwork together to solve conflicts!

Posted next to this piece is a poem composed by Peter Mwashi, who was inspired by the outcome of this workshop. If you have not done so yet, I urge you to read it.

For this exhibition Nishio also organised “street intervention” on Langata road where street vendors put on various KANGAERU cloth and paraded down an improvised catwalk – the congested main road – for an instant fashion show.

Nishio approached street vendors because they adorn themselves with their merchandise  – hats, toys, maps, you name it - to attract customers. In that sense they are born models for a daily fashion show!

The documenting photos by James Muriuki and Kichitaro Shiojiri are exhibited as well.  

Lastly, I wish to briefly introduce the background of Nishio: he was born in Nara in Japan in 1982 and obtained Ph. D. in Fine Arts from the prestigious Tokyo University of the Arts in 2011. In the same year he received grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan to stay and work for 2 years in Kenya.

Nishio found a potential in Kenya to get across the conventional boundary between the artists who create and the viewers who appreciate. To foster a new culture through working together and building mutual understanding - that is what he aims for.  

You may have questions or feedback on the works exhibited here, and/or Nishio’s pursuit. He is happy to respond to you in person.

We wish you enjoy this unique exhibition and bring your own KANGAERU reflections back home.

Thank you.

Contributed Writing by Peter Mwashi Litonde

Freedom Corner

What does this Kanga mean? Its just but a kanga, a fabric so what?
These are some of the questions that rung in my mind,
When I chose to participate in this workshop
But as I sat to organize and assist in making it happen
So much played in my mind and the realities came during the workshop

This exercise gives me a chance to sit back and reflect
Reflect of this slum community that brought me up
Admire all the diversity that comes with it
It now inspires me to write these words
To go along with this brilliant piece of art
Which am sure will forever remain in my heart

First, the Kangas come from such hopeful and hard working women
They go through so much to make ends meet.. They make His-story
With rich and deep stories of a mother, a sister and a wife
These fabrics am sure have seen it all… Her-story
From carrying a two year old at the back, to water from the tap
They’ve seen through dark nights and hopes varnish
But today, so bright shaken off the dust and now the beauty we all admire

But what wets my eyes is the venue of the workshop
We call it freedom corner; I will love it to be free for sure
Only one month before the workshop, we buried a comrade
In cold blood he was shot dead at this spot.. But why? I don’t know
A child of a mother who once was carried and warmed up by a Kanga
But thank God at the freedom corner, we meet at the junction for this art

Both young and old, black and white, men and women, boys and girls
Never mind from this tribe or that, drunk or sober, short or tall
Hundreds of us with no idea of what will come out, to what it is now-Art
Unable to tell the beginning to the end, but with no end it flows
Forming a pattern that we should all adopt to a new people
Living as one unit in peace

One piece at a time we have recollected to represent the art
One generation to the next, to a society we admire
Renewing our hopes and energies to what we dream of
We shall get there for sure… We shall!
Warm us again with Kanga oh mother Peace
That we may be free and hopeful once again

By
Peter Mwashi Litonde
Writer and community development worker
+254 723 547 747
plitonde@yahoo.com


展覧会オープニング開催


昨晩は無事に展覧会オープニングが開催されました。連日の雷雨とヒドい渋滞、さらには道の途中では川のように雨が横切っていましたが、そんな荒波を乗り越えて集まってくださった皆様には、本当にありがとうございました!また、素晴らしいスピーチをしてくださった上原百合子さん、ありがとうございます。展覧会はLe Rustiqueにて今月27日まで。

Street fashion show on Langata Road


Photo by Kichitaro Shiojiri

4月20日にLangata Roadにてファッション・ショーを行なう。混合う道路でさまざまな生活用品を身につけて売り歩くストリート・ベンダーズたちが、モデル要請に応じてくれる。ショーの写真は展覧会で公開予定。アフリカや欧州で活躍するカメラマンJames Muriukiと、塩尻吉太郎さんが良い写真を撮ってくれた。


KANGAERUワークショップ開催(Korogocho地区)




Photo by Kichitaro Shiojiri

ナイロビ東部Korogocho地区のフリーダム・コーナーでKANGAERUワークショップを開催。約300人の通行人が参加。地元女性の古カンガを用い、やわらかい色合いに。臨機応変なスタッフたちのおかげで、多数の人が通るオープン・スペースでも問題なくなごやかに盛り上がる。完成作品は、5月にLe Rustique Restaurantで開催予定の個展「KANGAERU」にて展示。


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