When we visited the Go-Down Art Center in Nairobi a few weeks ago the artists were introduced to a photographer from the Ivory Coast, Ananias Leki Dago.(http://www.creativeafricanetwork.com/person/8754 )He works with an old-school camera (yes, there is actual film in the camera!) and works in all black and white. As we passed around a book of his photography I was impressed by how artistically planned out and calculated each photo seemed to be- so much movement, mingled with a collage of overlapping pattern and shape, interest angles, and many times you are left with questions even after staring and studying each photo for a long while. His photos were intriguing.
Two weeks ago we invited this man to come to our side of town, in Kibera on Thursday, to walk and take pictures of the lives and homes of people in the slum. Thursday’s gathering involved a group of very excited artists, 5 cameras, and sitting around a table together sharing chai after the walk was finished. Many took pictures of the Kibera community from artistic angles and of people who were many times caught unaware. During the Kibera walk, as well as last week’s photo critique, Ananias’s offered valuable insight and perspective into his thought process as he looks through the camera lens. He seems to be most fascinated by the mabati… anybody else a little lost with that word? Well don’t ask this group of artists, because when I spoke up everybody just looked at me and laughed! Apparently it was a hilarious question, like who wouldn’t know what mabati is?? Anyways, it’s the corrugated metal rooftops that shield people from the rains, and then capture the sun’s heat like the inside of an oven!
Anyways, in addition to Ananias’s expertise and skill, this man is awesomely down-to-earth and seems to love hanging out with our corky group. He invited the artists to his photography presentation at Kuona Trust Arts Center (http://www.kuonatrust.org/) on Monday and now he is returning again soon to “talk photography” and then “do photography” with us in Kibera!