Kenyan shows Smithsonian fans the beauty of junk art - Daily Nation

Kenyan shows Smithsonian fans the beauty of junk art

Saturday May 26 2018

Cyrus Kabiru Ng'ang'a's art. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU

Cyrus Kabiru Ng'ang'a's art. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU 

By MARGARETTA WA GACHERU
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Cyrus Kabiru Ng’ang’a was once known as a junk artist, a guy from Korogocho slum who had boys collect beer bottle tops from bars and bring them by the sack to Cyrus’s container-studio at Kuona Trust, now renamed Kuona Artists Collective.

But now Cyrus is better known as a surrealist sculptor whose C-Stunner specs have taken him all over the world.

He’s exhibited, lectured and even run recycled trash workshops everywhere from Los Angeles and London to Milan, Cologne and Cape Town.

Cyrus Kabiru Ng'ang'a's art. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU

Cyrus Kabiru Ng'ang'a's art. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU

Most recently, he’s been in Washington, DC, where he was invited to give a lecture and workshop at the prestigious Smithsonian Institution at its National Museum of African Art.

The title of his talk was nearly as stunning as his work. It was ‘Re-visioning Africa through the Creative Lens of Cyrus Kabiru’.

It was just last weekend that he was in the American capital city, addressing a room filled with art lovers of all ages.

They hung onto every word of our ‘world-acclaimed’ friend whose works have graced a myriad of art and fashion magazine covers, featured in countless video shots and attracted more interest in contemporary Kenyan art worldwide than any other visual artist other than Wangechi Mutu.

Cyrus Kabiru Ng'ang'a's art. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU

Cyrus Kabiru Ng'ang'a's art. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU

In fact, when the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art was opened in Cape Town late last year, it was only two Kenyans who got the artworks included in its permanent collection. They were Wangechi and Cyrus.

So when Cyrus returns to Kenya, he deserves a hero’s welcome similar to what our football stars and award-winning runners receive.

But undoubtedly Cyrus won’t be looking for such accolades. He keeps a low profile here at home and will probably just go straight back to work making more C-Stunners for his next exhibition, wherever it may be.