5(Video presentation)

Ni Nyumbani was conceived a few years ago as a way of thinking and imagining homes, the different ways to view the dichotomy of inside and outside, and the relations that ensue. Over the past year the COVID-19 pandemic has made this notion of home come to the fore as people were asked to stay home as much as possible, children spent most of the year at home since schools were closed, homes have been converted to workspaces and the notion of working from home has now become commonplace.

This iteration of Ni Nyumbani takes a step further and seeks to explore other ways in which the space of home can be thought. What makes a home a home? The space, the people who live in it, the objects, and even the memories that permeate the space. A consequence of the pandemic is how death becomes pervasive. There are daily tallies of infected people, the number of those recovered, and the number of dead. Does death seep into homes and how do different homes deal with death?

To think of death is to think about the passage of time, the way generations pass traditions one to the other. How is the passage of time inscribed into the space of the home? There is the chipping paint, the water marks on ceilings, the photographs on walls whether of those living there or cut outs from magazines and calendars. For a long time, there was the tradition of visitors being offered a photo album to be able to go through the passage of time that had led to the present moment.

As time passes the stark differences between generations come to the fore. The elderly are a vulnerable group during the pandemic and some have been forced to stay home to prevent infection especially those with pre-existing conditions. What has been their experience of home? How have they related to the younger generations? Are memories being made and shared? These are some of the questions that the project hopes to answer and think through.

The project is a video coverage conversation on lineage and body archive, funeral experience of my late grandfather (Guga) Simon Mudanya Musoma 1928-2021

We also have thoughts and a space in mind for the video installation and to add on a small exhibition that is after presenting and finishing the video editing. No dates in mind yet but we shall communicate together with the final text of the work.

Artist Statement

To begin to create something is to be at the threshold of possible worlds. There is faltering, doubt, memories of different experiences, and like most doors upon which we knock, there is the wait. To encounter a limitation that can be resolved only by opening up to oneself. ‘Through sketching and painting, I started to paint for myself, to paint myself and how I relate with others and the world around me. Asking; is it a decision to cover? Is it a decision to uncover? To recover? discover, reveal or hide?’

These questions are opened up further by using lines and boxes in space to ask what is covered or uncovered, inside or outside. Following keen observation of places, people and self, the work investigates the meandering routes of emotions, the confining or liberating positions we find ourselves as we navigate the world. How do we come into them, who/what sustains us in these spaces, and how do we claim ourselves amidst the various comings and goings? A line is the connection between two points, it is stability yet it could also be a spiral which leads to the same place. Boxes signify the multiplicity of self. Facebook. @Kavochy Instagram @kavochioustudio


Bethuel Muthee

Bethuel Muthee is a poet living and working in Nairobi. He is a member of Maasai Mbili Artists Collective.
He was series editor for Down River Road’s inaugural issue “Place. As a member of Naijographia he has co-curated three exhibitions:
1. Naijographia (2017, Goethe Institute Nairobi)
2. Wanakuboeka Feelharmonic (2018, British Institute in East Africa) 3. From Here to When (2019, Goethe Institute).
You can read more of his work here

Anita Kavochy

Kavochi Anita (b.1993) is a Kenyan artist who primally draws, paints, and experiments on different mediums and materials. Her work seeks to re/cover the layers of emotions that constitute the self and the relation to the world, being born from Kibera slums an environment that shelters too many families with houses close proximity to each other, the work questions the notion of home and belonging.

Kavochi studied at Buru Buru Institute of Fine Art in 2014 before joining Maasai Mbili Artist Collective in the same year. Her practice begun in the collective learning and working alongside Maasai mbili artists participating in exhibitions and workshops both individually and collaboratively.