Category Archives: Art News

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, […]

Empire State Building

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 […]

Meet Bankslave, Kenya’s King Of Graffiti Art

IMAGES: L-R FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM BANKSLAVE In an interview with CNN for the African Voices segment, we meet Bankslave, one of the artists to pilot graffiti art in Kenya. IMAGE: FACEBOOK/ BANKSLAVE Like many artists, Bankslave always knew he had talent when at the age of nine and ten he would scribble on walls and get a proper beating from his mother. IMAGE: FACEBOOK/ BANKSLAVE He grew up in Kibera slums and when in high school, he picked up the art, inspired by the graffiti on Kenyan matatus. IMAGE: MATWANA MATATU CULTURE His work is a showcase of Nairobi characters. Bankslave says: I want to […]

Why Nairobi has become mecca of Kenyan public art

Visual artists are ever in a quandary over where to exhibit their art. Either their work requires more space than some Nairobi galleries and art centres have available or the price of renting exhibition space is more than artists can afford. Some proprietors are also slow in providing payment to artists after their artworks are sold. However, many ingenious Kenyan artists have found ways around these roadblocks. Quite a few display their art on Facebook (like Michael Soi, Mbuthia Maina and many others), while some establish their own websites (like Bankslave) or open up galleries of their own. (For instance, this […]

Tunapanda’s new graffiti

Tunapanda Institute’s look has been enhanced! Last week, Tunapanda’s look got enhanced through the use of graffiti. In exchange for a web design service, Bankslave, one of the graffiti artists in Nairobi had a chance to “use our wall as his canvas”. Our inner court’s wall was the canvas. Bankslave’s passion for art (specifically street graffiti) started at a younger age. He grew up in Kibera watching the best and worst cultures of the slum. He uses his graffiti as a way to voice out his opinions to the world — he uses graffiti to express himself. He appreciates good cultures and […]