Art @ The Bus Weekend
Posted on May 18, 2016
Have you ever tried figuring out what heaven will be like? This near-mystical place beyond the clouds that promises an eternal state of bliss, void of earthly pain and sorrow? Have you? Have you seen yourself walking the streets of Gold and fist bumping an 8-foot angel as he walked past you? And the wonder of seeing him fly off (extra fluffy wings and all) to duty calls as he looked back over his shoulder and said “tuchekiane baadaye!” Hmmm? Well, I would go on and on of what to expect of this magical place. But lets linger on this imaginative trail for a while. What if there was a heaven made up of artistes? Think a fanfare of sorts with both visual and performing artistes showcasing their work for all to see and enjoy. You’d run to the poetry booth and find this guy with an untamed beard, his dreadlocks slithering behind his back, mic on one hand as he waxed lyrical about his art piece on finding love. After that you’d ride on a cloud…high up to another humongous cloud and find dancers breaking their legs to the tune of beat-boxers who are standing close by. Well, that is an exaggerated version of what I experienced last month during the 2nd Edition of Art at the Bus weekend. A slice of heaven here on earth, by artistes and for artistes…in a new collaborative space in Westlands called the Yard. There were no streets of gold for sure. Nonetheless, it was a golden experience for everyone who attended. The three-day event was a curation of a variety of acts ranging from the mellow tunes of Nina Ogot’s benga blues, lyrical mash-ups with Gicho pevu the poet and a whole lot more refreshing, heavenly acts.
So how exactly did Art at the Bus weekend blossom to what it is right now? Well, this weekender is an initiative of Wibo Culture Artcellerator, a community based organization that accelerates the socio-economic potential of cultural and creative products of Kenya. Wibo believes in developing a generation of well rounded leaders of tomorrow, leaders that will transform and sustain the cultural and creative eco-system in East Africa. And what’s the narrative behind the creation of wibo you may ask? According to the founder, Gregg Tendwa, the artcellerator was birthed by dissatisfaction and disappointment in the under current order of our performance art. Gregg believes that the psychological and socio-economic well being of society is a direct outcome of the quality and quantity of performance art. Simply said, Mwalimu Tendwa is a man who loathes mediocrity in any art form. “We are tired of mediocre acts, with flashing china lights, guys scratching their crotch, girl’s swagging boobs and the struggle to twerk at every beat. While some may consider it important, we don’t consider it as art. That is why Wibo Artcellarator chose a curational path whose main objective is to improve the quality of the performance of artistes by providing a production team to stretch out their potential.”
So courtesy of the event invitation that I gladly accepted, I found myself neatly tucked in the heart of Gregg’s vision. Day one of the weekender was a buzz of activity. It’s the heaven I was talking about, minus the fist bumping with angels and riding on clouds. As an artiste myself, I felt so alive to rub shoulders with my species. They were ready to showcase their hearts passion…and the audience was equally ready and eager to savor all of what was prepared. The weekender vigorously promotes Afro, Live, electro and experimental acts and this 2nd edition drew audiences from all different tribes and tongues. The entire 3 day event was magical…quite impossible to express the entirety of my experience through pen and paper. Easily distinguishable from other events, Art at the bus serves as a hub where artistes will connect, learn and share. A platform for them to gain visibility and to connect their products to audiences. And what a joy it was for me to be part of a memorable experience that literally left me craving for the next edition, which will go down this coming June 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2016.
As we wait for the 3rd editionof Art at the bus, I’ll leave you with this podcast by Mwalimu Tendwa who talks to Gijo pevu and wahenga wenyeji, some of the featured artistes on the 2nd Edition. Special thanks to Audi Bera and Winny Kirorei for facilitating the audio interview which makes for a classic listen. Coming up tomorrow will be my interview with Barry Odhiambo, a photographer present during the event…and he will shed more light on his “Framed Anamorphism” style of taking photographs. Have a lovely evening and may you fist bump an angel today. Or share a hug with them. Your call. Cheers!