Rubbish puts art in its place

Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru is a painter and sculptor best known for his Afro-futurism series, C-Stunners, an ongoing project consisting of elaborate eyeglasses that are imaginatively constructed out of found objects and recycled trash.

These wearable sculptures – part fashion statement, part sociopolitical commentary – capture the sensibility and attitude of the youth in Nairobi. They portray the aspirations of popular culture bling and reflect the ingenuity and resourcefulness of people. The lenses are a metaphorical filter, providing a fresh perspective on the world.

Where did your journey as an artist begin?

I’m an artist who works in different mediums, mostly giving trash a second chance. I started making art when I was young, making the things I wanted but wasn’t allowed. My dad never allowed me to have real glasses because when he had a pair his mother beat him when they broke, and so he had hated glasses ever since. This is why I started making glasses from pieces of trash.

What appeals to you about working with found objects?

I like working with found and unfound materials because I can’t help seeing the inherent creativity in all things. When I walk around where I live I always see trash, and this is why I decided to give use to it in my art, to make it into another life.

What is your creative process – do you start with sketches? How does your artwork take shape?

I don’t follow sketches but I must have an idea before I start. Sometimes materials dictate a piece of work, but all of my work has a story behind it. I have a prison series where I design the glasses related to different prisons – Mongolian prison, Madiba prison and Kenyan prison. I also have a boobs series where I have figuratively designed American boobs, Kenyan boobs, Indian boobs, etcetera.

In what ways do the C-Stunners artworks depict the world you see around you?

The C-Stunners are about seeing the world in a different way. We always see the world through plastics (normal glasses), but by using different materials I am changing this view.

You also did paintings based on the C-Stunners series. What was the idea behind this project?

I am doing self-portraits based on my C-Stunners artworks using recycled canvases. I use newspaper for this because I like the idea of putting a painting on top of a story; everyone loves a good story.

What inspires your work?

I am inspired by everything, especially nature – birds, trees, water, places, as well as many other things.

Your work has a sense of humour to it. Is this something that you think is important for art?

That’s how I am, and so to me it’s important in my work. It makes people happy and they love my work.

What is most important to you about being creative and making art?

Everyone can make art. What is important is to be creative and think outside the box.

What art pieces will you be showing at the FNB Joburg Art Fair?

I’ll be showing my C-Stunners and some paintings.

Will you be attending the art fair? What are you most excited about, being part of the art fair?

I’m visiting Jo’burg before the art fair but I won’t be at the actual fair. I am excited to be a part of it because of the publicity and more people being able to get to know/see my work.

What other project are you busy working on?

I am busy with a bicycle series, which you will see soon.

This is adapted from an interview with Cyrus Kabiru on Between 10and5, www.10and5.com

Advertisting

Hlophe complaint is an eerie echo

But the new complaint against the Western Cape judge president is also unprecedented

Mabuza contract grows by R10m

Eskom’s negotiators in a R100-million maintenance contract came back with a proposal to push up the costs

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide
Advertising

Press Releases

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.