KASPALE exhibition by Syowia Kyambi

Exhibited at Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI)


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Kaspale is a trickster character created by Syowia Kyambi to intervene in situations where the burden of often violent histories is difficult to articulate and engage with.

This body of work, which began in 2018 with research into the history of the Amani Research Station in Usambara, Tanzania, and the archives of the MARKK Museum, Hamburg, has expanded into a series of encounters and interventions in which Kaspale shuttles back and forth in time and space, both real and imaginary.

Kaspale intervenes into recent Kenyan and East African history of colonial past, and spaces which bear the legacy of these colonial projects.

Kyambi introduces Kaspale’s kin , and place of origin.

Golden-mouthed with red ochre limbs, dawning a Kaunda suit made of mosquito netting, Kaspale holds space for truth-telling.

Kyambi undertakes a commentary on the legacies of colonisation, histories of state-sanctioned violence, individual and collective memory, and how these, together, inform one’s sense of self

About Syowia

Syowia Kyambi recognizes the power of entwining the personal with the political and the entangled nature of both. Incorporating photography, video, drawing, sculpture and performance installation.

Kyambi’s approach takes aim at the politics of the time as well as its legacy today, what is remembered, what is archived, and how we see the world anew. Kyambi engages with museums and/or ethnographic collections, personal and public archives. She bridges disciplines, visually interrogates our histories, the representation of identity, the effects on the psyche and the nuances in our relationships to each other and the world we live in.

Website: syowiakyambi.com

Instagram: @syowiakyambi

About NCAI

Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI) is a nonprofit visual-arts space dedicated to the growth and preservation of contemporary art in East Africa. Through exhibitions, the development of an East African art archive, an extensive public program of talks, and a multidisciplinary educational program, NCAI serves as an inspiring cultural space and a resource for the thriving East African arts community. Established in 2020, NCAI builds on a rich legacy of art projects and institutions in the region, and seeks to tell the stories of the artists and projects that have come to shape the region’s contemporary art scene.

Visitor Information

• The Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute is located at Rosslyn Riviera, 3rd floor, Suite 307, Limuru Road, Nairobi.

• NCAI is open to the public on Monday to Friday, from 10am to 6pm and on Saturday from 11am to 6 pm. NCAI is closed on Sundays and public holidays

• Admission: FREE