Category Archives: Graffiti

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Why I love graffiti

In one of Segerstrom’s favourite studies, researchers asked a group of people to use a beautiful piece of classical music to raise their moods, while telling other volunteers simply to listen to the symphony. The result: The concert didn’t help those who were focused on lifting their spirits—but the others wound up feeling much better. “To truly be happy, you have to stop trying,” says Segerstrom (it’s true; naturally happy people never do these 6 things). Even monitoring yourself—Am I feeling better yet?—gets in the way, studies show. Instead, aim to be engaged. “Engagement bypasses pessimism,” she says. One reason: When […]