Babushe: A Beacon of Art in Kenya

Babushe alias Joseph Maina is a hero hailing from Nakuru County who champions for the county (and the whole country) as a hub for culture, art, and creativity. In his late 60s now, Babushe’s passion for art – especially stage plays – started during high school. Babushe moved to Nairobi upon completing his high school studies to expand his imagination, channel his inner curiosity, and develop a network of like-minded people. In Nairobi, he became an active visitor and participant at Kenya National Theater and Goethe Institut. He witnessed and experienced a great drawback in Nairobi brought about by the […]

Bankslave at Africa Climate Summit

Kenya hosted the inaugural Africa Climate Summit to deliberate on issues of climate change and its associated costs. The event which was attended by seventeen African Heads of State served as a platform for Africa to air out its views on climate change. Compared to the West, Africa’s carbon footprint is significantly less. However, climate change is a global crisis that requires global collaboration and commitment. As a result, as highlighted in the Summit’s official website, Africa is ready to contribute to the world’s decarbonization efforts by leveraging its abundant resources, including renewable energy, critical minerals, agricultural potential, and natural […]

Bankslave will be Attending NBO LitFest: Mtaa Narratives

NBO LitFest is a literary festival birthed in 2021 to celebrate art, culture, and boundless knowledge that exists within Nairobi’s diverse neighbourhoods. This year’s edition, themed “Mtaa Narratives”, aims to explore and celebrate memories and stories that ground the Nairobians. It is purposed at unraveling the untold stories and ideas, through its vibrant public libraries, that shape Nairobi and its environs. The 3-day event that takes place from 25th August to 27th August will be held across the three Book Bunk’s project libraries, namely; McMillan Memorial Library, Kaloleni Library, and Eastands Library. Note: Each of these libraries originally belonged to […]

Bankslave Dedicates New Mural to E-Sir

Bankslave, who recently took part in an art exhibition as part of the Hip-hop Asili Festival in Dar es Salaam, finished a mural of Kenya’s late rapper, E-Sir. Renowned graffiti artist kicked off the mural about a month ago but couldn’t finish it because of other competing priorities, among them the Hip-hop Asili Festival. Finally, earlier this week, Bankslave finished the artwork to a great celebration from the neighborhood and the online community. The mural is located at Trench Town in Fort Jesus (Kibera). Earlier this year, Bankslave immortalized AKA, South Africa’s late rapper who was fatally shot and killed […]

Bankslave at Hip-hop Asili Festival: Lady Jaydee’s Mural

Bankslave attended the recently-concluded Hip-hop Asili Festival in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This annual event aims to enhance the diverse cultural art forms by empowering young artists from East Africa to showcase their skills in a manner that celebrates, educates, and inspires both their peers and the wider community. Dubbed “SPRAY & STYLE: THE INTERSECTION OF GRAFFITI AND STREET FASHION”, Bankslave together with Leony (Tanzania), Kalasinga (Tanzania), and Kactus 43 (France) collaborated to create various amazing works of art. The event was followed by an exhibition at the Alliance Française. Bankslave created a portrait painting of Tanzania’s legendary singer, Lady […]

Bankslave Immortalizes AKA in Kibera Streets

Bankslave, the renowned Kenyan graffiti artist,  has immortalized AKA (real name Kiernan J. Forbes) with a portrait wall mural in the streets of Nairobi. The South African rapper was recently shot at close range outside a restaurant in eastern Durban. The 35-year-old award-winning rapper is the latest victim of gun violence in South Africa. About four months ago, another South African amapiano musician, DJ Sumbody, was fatally shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Jo’burg city. AKA’s parents confirmed his death by putting out a statement on his Twitter account noting that “It is with extreme sadness that we […]

Ubuntu Philosophy – Humanity

Ubuntu is a Bantu term that means “humanity”. When expanded, the term often translates to “I am because we are” or “humanity towards others”. Philosophically, Xhosa, a Bantu-speaking community in southern Africa, uses the term to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.  Other tribes and communities use the term to mean “universal truth and a way of life [and] a concept of an open society”. When asked about the Ubuntu philosophy during the launch of Ubuntu Linux, Nelson Mandela said: In the old days, when we were young, a traveller through our country, […]

Dedan Kimathi

Dedan Kimathi was a heroic and revolutionary leader who fought against the British colonial regime in Kenya in the 1950s. He led Kenya’s independence movement, Mau Mau Uprising, as a freedom fighter and by serving as a senior military and spiritual leader. Mau Mau’s sole purpose was to remove white settlers who had forcefully taken up land previously owned by Kenyans. After the relentless fight, the colonial government captured and hanged him to death at Kamiti prison.

NFT Auction of Eliud Kipchoge’s Mural, the Greatest Marathoner Ever

A digital mural of Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner to ever walk the Earth, is up for sale as an NFT (click here to buy). Kipchoge is the first man in the world to run a 42-kilometres-marathon in under 2 hours (1:58:40). Own an original digital copy of Kipchoge’s mural. The mural physically exists at the heart of Nairobi city (along Kenyatta Avenue). He who buys this a) appreciates and promotes Bankslave’s revered legacy as a world-known graffiti artist who uses the art to advocate for social change while showing respect to the world’s legends – he has done paintings of […]

Bankslave Brings Empire State Building to Nairobi

Bankslave has brought the 49th tallest building in the world – Empire State Building – to Nairobi. The mural is located at Empire Coffee Eatery (George Pardmore off Rose Avenue, Kilimani, Nairobi). In addition to the good food served there, drop by to check out the mural. Don’t hesitate to snap a picture with the mural and tag Bankslave on social media posts. Also, catch Bankslave in Machakos on July 3, 2021. During this Amapiano Tour event (Machakos edition), Bankslave will be doing a live painting session. In attendance will also include Mr JazziQ, DJ Protege, Ally Fresh, DJ Malaika, […]

Kenya’s Graffiti Train Seeks To Promote A Peaceful Election

Kenya’s peace train is ready to roll. Kenyan graffiti artists received permission from the Rift Valley Railway to spray-paint a 10-car commuter train with peace messages and icons. It may be the first train in Africa with officially authorized graffiti. The train will travel through the massive Nairobi slum of Kibera, one of the largest in Africa, where young gangs torched, looted and killed in the spasms of violence that followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election. “What we’re doing with the train here now, it’s part of a civic education and a way to advertise peace,” says Uhuru B, a […]

Graffiti artist takes on fresh challenge with hotel project

Bankslave (aka Kevin Esendi) is best known in Kenya for being one of our leading graffiti artists. He is a man who has mainly made his mark artistically, not for art exhibitions held in local galleries, but for his fabulous designs spray-painted on walls all around the city, coast and countryside. Probably his most famed work is a portrait of Lupita Nyong’o painted at the GoDown Art Centre. It has been a source of inspiration to many up-and-coming Kenyan artists. It has also become emblematic of Kenya’s booming graffiti art scene. But Bankslave also gets called to do special projects […]

Kenyan Graffiti Artists Spray for Political, Social Change

NAIROBI — Some of Kenya’s graffiti artists have become a voice for social change, using their art to push boundaries and make statements about the country’s political elite. Nine years ago, Kevin Esendi aka Bankslave dropped out of art school and embraced his first love – graffiti. Most of his fans and fellow artists now know him by his street name – “Bankslave.” “Bankslave” has risen to become one of Nairobi’s foremost graffiti artists. He says the art form – which some consider a public nuisance – has evolved in Kenya to become an outlet for political opinion. “Graffiti is a […]

Graffiti artists turn to walls with a stinging political message

he images hit you hard in the face. They virtually jump out of the concrete surfaces they are painted on. A huge, menacing vulture sits on a throne with a briefcase overflowing with cash cuffed on his wrist with a chain. Around it is evidence of all manner of scandals that have taken the Kenyan economy on a free fall. In another, vultures arrogantly walk around with their families. These images are all over the city of Nairobi, courtesy of the deft hands of a group of young graffiti artists. They are in public toilets, buildings and roads. Their message […]