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Cyrus Kabiru (Kenya), Jan-Feb 2019

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

Cyrus Kabiru, Masada, 2019, created during the Africa First Residency

Even if you don't necessarily remember the name (yet), the iconic images are surely familiar.

We were thrilled to have renowned artist Cyrus Kabiru (b. 1984, Nairobi, Kenya) as our artist in residence, from January 3 until February 10, 2019.

Kabiru creates intricate sculptural works that push the boundaries of conventional craftsmanship, sculpture, photography, design, and fashion. He is best known for creating eye wear, C-Stunners, that are made from found objects, which he then wears to create self-portraits that accompany the sculptural object. He also builds bicycles and has recently been using salvaged radios which he finds in flee markets around the world.

A part on an ongoing collaboration Cyrus Kabiru gave a public talk at the MFA Program of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design on January 31 at 18:30, 60 Shalma road, Tel-Aviv.

Kabiru is represented by SMAC Gallery in South Africa where in 2017 he presented two solo exhibitions, Macho Mbadala at SMAC Johannesburg, and Pandashuka at SMAC Cape Town. Earlier solo exhibitions include: Upcoming and The C-Stunner -both at the Kuona Trust in Nairobi, Kenya in 2010- as well as Cyrus Kabiru at the Kunstpodium T Gallery in Holland in 2011. Kabiru sees his work as a call to innovation, which was highlighted in his 2015 solo exhibition; C-Stunners and Black Mamba, at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa.

In 2016, Kabiru was a resident artist at the Fundació Han Nefkens in Barcelona, Spain, where he was also the first artist to participate in the Flow Series talks program – a joint initiative of the Fundanció Han Nefkens and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies. Also in 2016, Kabiru was selected as a featured artist for The Armory Show’s Focus Section: African Perspectives, curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba, in New York City, USA.  Additional awards include: his selection as one of the Quartz’s Africa Innovators for 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya; a fellowship at TED’s The Young, The Gifted, The Undiscovered in the USA, in 2013; the 2010 Best Artist Innovation Award at the Maker Faire in New York City, USA; and his selection as a featured artist in the Gestalten publication titled Africa Rising: Fashion, Design and Lifestyle from Africa.

Selected group exhibitions include: All Things Being Equal, at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2017;  Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, a seminal, travelling exhibition curated by Amelie Klein with Okwui Enwezor, initially exhibited at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany in 2015, later shown at The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and upcoming at selected museums in the USA; Brutal Beauty: Violence and Contemporary Design at the MARTA Herford Museum of Contemporary Art in Herford, Germany in 2016; Lumières d’Afriques, organised by the AAD Fund, at the Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris, France; AFRICA – Architecture & Identity at the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, Denmark; Beyond Borders, the 5th edition of the Beaufort Triennial in West Flanders, Belgium; and Unorthodox, curated by Jens Hoffmann, at The Jewish Museum in New York City, USA, all in 2015; as well as Concealed Selections and The Shadows Took Shape, at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, USA, in 2015 and 2013 respectively; also in 2013 Kabiru’s his work formed part of Afrofuture: Adventure with Makers, Thinkers and Dreamers at Milan Design Week in Italy.

Cyrus Kabiru’s work is included in numerous public and private collections, including: the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) permanent collection in Cape Town, South Africa; the Studio Museum in Harlem permanent collection, in New York City, USA; the Lemaître Collection, in Paris, France; the Han Nefkens H+F Collection, in Rotterdam, Netherlands; Kuona Trust, in Nairobi, Kenya; Scheryn Art Fund, in Cape Town, South Africa; and the Africa First collection, among others.

Towards the end of the residency news channnel i24 did a report on Cyrus Kabiru, see the video here.


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