Posted on May 19, 2016
My 2nd short feature article of Art @ the Bus weekend-Volume two spotlights Barry Awe’dhiambo. I met Barry during the weekender and his photography installation at the premise stood out…where countless number of folks passed by to have their photos snapped by this talented young man. His style, framed Anamorphism, was one that I had not seen before and this is what prompted this interview, curious to know a thing or two about his heart’s passion. So grab your hot drink and lets dive straight into Awe’dhiambo’s world, donge?
1. Let me begin this Barry by asking you to give us a brief background of yourself. Where were you born and how was life for you growing up?
I was born in Kisumu at 6 pm hence my surname Odhiambo which means evening in luo. I was fortunate to be raised by both my parents. I have one brother who I cherish and has been a source of inspiration in my life since I can remember. My childhood was well supported as an artiste. My dad used to teach me how to draw so that I could stop vandalizing his house. I later passed the drawing skills to my siblings. Back then I also had a passion for basketball and played the sport when I joined Maseno for my high school. I had a successful run with basketball that saw me win the award of the highest scorer in the National Secondary school league. Later I joined JKUAT to study Architecture and later joined BIFA (Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts) to study fine art and design and this is where I found photography.
2. When did you discover your love for photography and what made you choose it as a line of career?
My love for photography was profound during class assignments and projects where we were told to document buildings for projects. I started off photographing buildings then slowly moved into landscapes and then human portraits. Though for me I loved to create the art behind the photograph so I choreographed my shoots to capture a certain emotion. This led me to co-found an art group known as Upart, which comprised of different artistes from singers, rappers, painters and a sound engineer. I was the only photographer amongst them, so documenting them gave me joy and also a platform to execute and practice my art. With my background in art and design, I easily understand the principles of design which I put into consideration in my shoots to create the best pictures. With regards to photography as a career let me say that I’m slowly settling into it.
3. We’ve seen a surge of photographers in the market lately. How have you managed to set yourself apart from the rest? Take me through your style.
Well I stand out because I dropped the kawaida photography of just taking good pics…and I employ creative thinking to come up with mind blowing pictures. It comes with a lot of research and technicality behind it to create a very unique and simple concept. My style is based on two key principles: Depth & distortion to create a one piece composition. I think I’m going to name it here for the first time, my art is called “Framed Anamorphism” Framed because I usually place a prop frame before the subject and art piece…and anamorphism is the distortion of creating a 2D image on a 3D plane.
4. Where do you hope to see yourself in the coming few years?
In the coming years I see myself running a successful visual studio, grow as a D.O.P, do several installations of my framed anamorphic expression in major cities across the world e.g New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, rio, South Africa etc. I feel like my presence there will create a growth in me like never before plus…I’m the kind of guy who lives off experiences. I would also love to establish an art school that deals with children and teens so that I can help them develop what little artistry they have in them into major talents at a tender age…but obviously biased tp photography.
5. This is your second time to do an installation during Art @ The Bus weekend. How has your experience been in both events? And in your opinion, why does this event separate itself from others?
First I would love to thank the art @ the bus community for considering my contribution. These guys are warm and have a positive vibe. The experience has been super in terms of appreciation from various audiences. I have learnt a lot from setting up the installations…Like what might not work, what to avoid and such. I’ve also had many people advising me on a way forward with regard to my art…to clients wanting home installations…to great networks as well. So the event to me is a blessing…and I feel like the promise of a great future lies with such company. The event also brings experimental ideas/concepts to a new and young audience which to me is special. The whole experience behind art at the bus is just amazing. Collaborative support from artistes help create new concepts. So the fact that the event focuses on Kenyan music and cultures that define ourselves is what makes the weekender special.
6. Any artiste out there who inspires you in your work?
Yeah sure…I have fashion designer and entrepreneur Ozwald Boateng. He is bold in his creativity and ideology. There’s Edgar Mueller and he is the guy who shed more light on my research on anamorphic illusions. Barry ogolla, my younger sibling who took what I taught him as a child has become a great artiste and innovator and Leo davinci who prompted me to be a designer. I would say Barrack Obama but guys would think it’s the luo in me but I think he is a great artiste if not the greatest in our generation. Others include Pablo Picasso, Georges Biaque, Kanye west and Jesus Christ. Save the best for last.
7. Say for instance you had a strong position in the government, what would you do to make the art industry here in Kenya thrive more than it is now?
I would re-introduce arts and crafts back into the primary school curriculum, ban art imports into the country (that’s radical but the art industry needs radical changes) This is because the middle class are the ones pulling the art industry down by importing art from developed worlds to a struggling yet culturally rich and untapped nation.
8. And finally, is this young, handsome man single or is he taken?
Yes I’m off the market. I found love in college and still in love with my sweetheart who is an upcoming fashion designer.
Hope you have enjoyed the read as much as I have. Remember to save the dates for the 3rd Edition of Art @ The Bus where you will hopefully get to see Barry’s new installation. Those dates are: June 3rd, 4th and 5th, 2016. Warm regards.
- S Prev