Digital Exhibitors: What does 'Its What We Make It' mean to you?

Digital art allows artists to create and share their work with a global audience.


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From embracing our African Heritage to using a range of tools and techniques that allowed them to create and manipulate their work in ways that are not possible with traditional media, Nairobi Design Week 2023 digital exhibitors brought unique perspectives creativity and expression, here is a look at how they interpreted our theme for the year "It's What We Make It"

Babra Gitari its what we make it is a powerful statement that places the power to create our reality through our own will and creativity. In my own life I search for meaning and truth in order to create my reality through my art. She exhibited a collection of unconventionally African interpretation of the rider waite tarot cards.

Inatimi "Nazquiat" Nathus - to me, it means that our perspectives and the narratives we create play a crucial role in shaping the reality we experience. Our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes influence how we interpret and respond to the world around us. He exhibited his Afrotroves NFT art collection that pays homage to the beauty and cultural heritage of ancient African artifacts. These artifacts, many of which have not set foot in Africa for hundreds of years, were once held sacred by their respective cultures.

Georg Hartwig To me it means: The positive framing of our own narrative, both as individual as well as part of a global society we are interconnected and interdependent. He exhibited their work on Dystoptimal virtual realities that can be experienced at specific landmark-points in each of the 17 districts of Graz / Austria.

Ed Bear it means Perception of conception. He exhibited his VR African roads work which will allow people to spend hours and hours exploring and racing the terrains. The creation process is able to make use of modern design techniques such as photogrammetry, LiDAR data, satellite imagery and more.

Eric Donga exhibited his dahomey amazon and the radiant one works. To him it means that I alone have the power to dictate my own outcome, we shape our own destiny.

SiNae Song 'Its What We Make It' means that the future depends on us, creative thinkers and makers. We need eco-visionaries, storytellers, and innovative designers to create products that can make positive, greener changes in the world. She exhibited their Green Pill, a capsule-shaped product consisting of Azolla, is a medicine for our feverish planet. It sits on freshwater, absorbing carbon from the air that warms the earth. The shell-typed Green Pill prevents Azolla from escaping and becoming an invasive plant that adversely affects the environment and protects it from its natural enemies, providing the best environment for Azolla to propagate.

Sinatra Chumo it means art and the nature of it's creation is something we are somewhat called to , it's like a compulsion that you just feel . He exhibited the project is titled 'sisi ndio tuko' coincidentally which somewhat ties into a similar theme of 'Its what we make it' and an idea from another man's mind works

Joseph Mwaluma 'Its What We Make It' to me, means that whatever situation I find myself in, how I choose to respond is what matters. I could create something out of it, gain experience and we can collectively get through anything if we choose to make it work. His digital collage artwork project dubbed "Blended Sensations" explores abstract concepts through the use of color and digital techniques. The project involves creating a digital composition by combining images, graphics, and textures

Nikole Akinyi for me it means taking things that may not seem to fit together at first glance and creating something amazing. Following the theme of 'it's what we make it', she created an interactive art display that combines a live camera feed with a background of all the colours off the rainbow that interacts live with the audience in front of it by moving along with the movement of the person in front of the display. the multiple colours representing how Nairobi has people from different walks of life and how they make the city what it is while the camera feed rendering on it allows the audience to see themselves as the individuals in the collective.

Kevin Malombe It is about challenging creativity and championing the human spirit. He exhibited a personal mini-project where he explores creating identities for the 46 counties. It is an exploration of diversity and the string that can hold them all together

Waigwe Gichuhi 'It's what we make it' speaks to me of the freedom of creation and interpretation. It also shows the abundance of choice as to how we choose to view things and situations especially when the reaction that is expected or easier is to be negative. She exhibited Lost Girls Project . This project takes a look at moments where a sense of loss as to what to do or how to avoid uncomfortable scenarios is happening. Obscure moments that sometimes teach us more about ourselves than the best days can. Each artwork is a silent frame for you to take a pause and make of it what you will. Can you hear it? "What would I do if that was me?" or "What did I do when I was in that situation?"

Faith Mildred Life has a way of not being exactly what we expect it to be and sometimes it's hard for us to cope but for me I choose to make life what I make it, despite the challenges I am able to smile and be happy.  She exhibited her work as an expression of confusion, love, pain, being lost and finally finding herself in the midst of all that madness. “I made this pieces in the silent of the night, thinking I would find clarity in my thoughts, but it's only after repeatedly looking at this pieces is when I understood my feelings”

Kelvin Kamau Wamuiga It's What We Make It suggests the idea that the outcome of a situation or experience is determined by the effort and actions that people put into it. He exhibited “The Njeri Collection” Njeri is a young female Kenyan artist who uses colorful and vibrant art pieces to showcase her true and authentic self to the world. Having been born with dyslexia, navigating through social norms like school was difficult, especially in a society where dyslexic individuals are labeled as lazy and slow. By expressing her creative abilities, Njeri was able to find a safe space through which she could communicate and show those around her what the world looks like through her eyes.

Design without Borders Africa The challenges that plague our very existence are met by solutions born from the societies that give us refuge. These solutions reflect the hands that form them, the land from which they are born, and the moments in which they dwell. ‘It is what we make it’ is a reminder for us - of the various solutions that are born of our context embracing change. The product and service design consultancy based in Kampala, exhibited picture and statistics taken from the Trauma, Injury and Disability department of Makerere University's School of Public Health (MakSPH), who completed a research study of child injury within domestic settings in collaboration with the George Institute for Global Health.  Design without borders Africa investigated, designed and tested suitable interventions with the most potential to mitigate the risk factors identified.

Cover image credits Sinatra Chumo 'sisi ndio tuko'