Art is confusion to the normal and normal to the confused… Art cannot be embraced by someone that imagines lowly, art is love and love is complicated, art is madness, art is amazement, art is dollars, its drawing and collecting, and scribbling what can be interpreted in more than a million times, differently..
Art I say can never be understood. Art again is Richard Onyango, it’s in the blues and the greens, the hidden and the wilderness, the nudity and the weirdness, the ability to love and appreciate Joseph Murumbi, the ability to go deep down the lines, to see, to contemplate, to believe in what cannot be seen by normal eyes….Art is Magdalene Odundo…
I was at Point Zero near Nyayo house yesterday with a friend. What I saw was something that my eyes had yearned to see. A collection of art works by the one and only, Joseph Murumbi who was once-upon-a-time, the second vice president of Kenya. Joseph wherever you are, we still applaud your work. You have left some good collection of art and for someone like me, who loves art, I felt so much in love with you for the astounding job that you had done in your life.
Point Zero is in itself a very significant place, a gallery and the central place that is used as a basis of measuring distances all round Kenya and the world. That wherever kilometers from Nairobi to Malindi, or Nairobi to UAE, it starts from hapo. What can we say?
The first picture that took me miles away was the picture of the masters in the olden times beating up their slaves… It was touching, emotional, it was something that an artist had to sit down and do because that is the only way he could convey to the world how bad people were and how much the slaves had to go through in the claws of their masters.
The next thing was the Bamoun collars from Cameroon; those were a sight to see and at some point, I was telling Kev, I wish we had all this things. Infact, I was even managing to take some selfies, but man, Kev was in another world, trying to get a glimpse of everything, quenching his thirst, he was in deep thoughts it was as if he felt that he was suddenly in a history class and had to oblige to each and every sentence…He was in love.
Then the Samburu dolls, those ones reminded me of the poem I wrote and posted in Hellopoetry.com, “This love, our love”. The Maasai traditions, the big spoons that people used for uji, coffee pot (that actually was one of Kev’s favorite, coffee-loving nayo, haha), the collection of the gone-with-the-wind fabulous types of books, the traditional Indian attires, the list was boundless.
Have you ever seen a beautiful house? A beautiful sitting room? My dear, you haven’t! Beauty for me isn’t what a house in Nyali looks like, or the Obama-type of house or Lavington cases. For me, a beautiful house is one that is filled with so much art, so much to be interpreted that when you sit down, you get jumbled, your mind goes out to find answers, you are left to think and contemplate what the artist could be thinking about…Why that message? Why this or why that?
I found my dream house in the house of Joseph Murumbi. That bookshelf, the big album, the metallic pots, the antiqueness, the craft, the culture…it was a house that was amusing at the same time, amazing. One of the most fascinating pieces I set my eyes on in his sitting room was that of the couple fanning themselves, most likely enjoying their afternoon, relaxed. A good display of love-is-in-the-air. They call me ‘The Princess of Love’ because in my narrations, two things have to mostly appear, who remembers? Yes, the sun and love.
Around the corner, I saw something really fascinating. The work was framed and according to my understanding, that was a msusi doing someone’s hair. I tell you, artists can be hilarious. More frames were there of fascinating ideas brought out by different artists.
And then we were taken to Lamu, the big wooden doors, the clay pots, the lacquered bed, curved headboard, the jahazis, and the spaghetti press. Wow, unbelievable collection. The Lamu works reminded me of a certain chorus I frequently see in my Instagram and which I have heard so many times in Mombasa, let me share,
Tanga lenu, funga kae kae,
Baharini musivae vae,
Hii ndio Amu atakao nae.
I have forgotten to mention that we have another celebrated artist from Sudan, a diplomat also by the name Salih Mashamoun. How do you like these paintings that were made on goatskin? And then one mystery, there are these enclosed cabinets that are locked up and mind you, even the constitution stresses on the importance of the cabinets and no one has been able to know what is hidden inside and the keys to that secret is with the then queen of England.
Take a look at this African Royalty, isn’t this beaded crocodile inviting and cute?
There is another place that had some cute art that was being sold to up to 800,000 but since photography was restricted at that place, I cannot be able to share with you guys. But there was a certain picture that made me and Kev crazy. It was a picture that we both debated on what the artist was trying to tell us. There was this drawing of a plump woman who looked perverted and was reading TIMES magazine and a very thin man behind her, the room was decorated with books and trophies and there was a cute frame that said, “I love Jesus”, so I was thinking that that woman was a sponsor and the guy was educated, all that belonged to him but (amekaliwa chapati haha), however Kev had a different point of view. For him, he said that the secret was the TIMES magazine that the lady was reading, she was the owner of the place and the guy was there for entertainment purposes. That is one of the conflicts of understanding that came by yesterday but we can all not really know what artists try to bring out, because they are mad.