Kevin Kigera Njau is an artist and architect.
“Art and architecture are not two independent fields,” Kigera remarks. “Art is a manifestation of creativity. Architecture is art fused with the science of building. It is a vision of the future through the built environment. I am an architect with a foundation in art. I want to build something new that will become iconic in Kenya.
“Architecture is the perfect ‘canvas’ for art. It adds a fourth dimension: the experience of living in the work of art. You can literally travel through and dwell within an artwork which provides space and adapts to your needs. It is a masterpiece from the inside out. A creative design can be influenced by anything. If creative thinking is your thing, then you can always find it.
“Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be an artist, to turn any ‘mess’ into something aesthetic and appealing. I constantly drew animals and people. Doodles they were, but they paved my way into art. Sketching made me happy and happiness boosted my confidence in my ability. This is when my thirst to create was born. To be more creative became my obsession. Fortunately for me, my high school offered art classes where I drew, painted, sculpted and learned photography. I would skip my ‘regular’ classes just to dash to the art room. Eventually, my creativity was recognized. I started to receive art commissions and developed a business of portrait drawing.
“My mother was my greatest supporter. She believes that ‘in life, people should do what they are passionate about.’ My school art teacher, Benta Abung’u, also played a huge role in developing my talent. She told me about the MASK Prize creativity competition and I entered it in 2013. I did not win it then but promised to do so one day and, by mastering my art techniques ever since, I won the competition in 2019 with my series of digital collages ‘Afrofuturism’.”
‘Afrofuturism’ often uses ‘extraterrestriality’ as a metaphor for reimagined Black identity and new futures. In this series, Kigera says he wanted to show “the raw, untamed power that is present in black people. Repetitive images that cascade from each other in bold succession - is a bold nature that stands against all odds.”
Kigera now studies Architecture at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and in his spare time mentors students in his former high school. “I do not do it for monetary gain. I just enjoy talking to people who share my passion for art. My art is a constant pursuit of something better. A constant desire to create something from nothing. Creativity is the force of my life.”
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