The artist is from Lamu, she is a Lamu County Councilor. She hopes to one day be Madam President.
“And even if an incident like Mpeketoni (God forbid) happens, you can come to my place and hide yourself and vice versa.”
I’m from Lamu in the coast, here is the sea, our main cultivation is fishing using daus, and we have mangrove trees; this is how Lamu looks like. I was reminded of my childhood experiences, with fire wood cooking rice with my fellow friends. I also tried to remember the outside games like skipping ropes with my friends. We ensured that we played near our homes, as we were not allowed to go far away because we were girls. As a Councilor, I’m here with two arms up speaking and listening to the voice of the weak and strong people in my community, and where there’s need.
What does not make you proud about Kenya?
The things I hate or I’m not proud of in Kenya are inequitable sharing of jobs, a lot of corruption e.g. in documentation of ID cards or passport, it is a big problem for Bajuns living in Kenya. Another thing that makes me hate Kenya is tribalism. There’s a lot of tribalism. We Bajuns, we have our culture, when we meet other people they have a feeling that we don’t like them. TThey feel that we are trying to sideline them, which is very wrong. We have also been marginalized for so long i.e. education wise, lifestyle wise, in job creation, we are not considered. Another big issue is land grabbing, especially those people coming from upcountry to come and grab our land here in Lelana, Manda and Sasi. Mainly these are what make me hate the people who live in Kenya. I hate anybody who comes from outside to grab my land. They have their own home, why do they come here, we are not going to their places. That place called home is the home land, place of origin. Buying and grabbing are two different things. What about my children, where are they going to survive, do we do the same in Nyeri? In Isiolo, it is the same. Personally, I’m clean and often speak against grabbers.
I want us to understand each other well that we are all Kenyans, all Africans, living in one country and have been for a long time. So the recent differences brought about by people from other counties should not be the reason for our divisions and animosity in us, let us live as we always have. This will enable us to visit offices and each other without fear; for we are sisters, Kenyans and friends. And even if an incident like Mpeketoni (God forbid) happens, you can come to my place and hide yourself and vice versa.
My Bodymap – Her Excellency Sharifa
“I remember very well when at school there two types of drawing; you draw through observation or imagination, but I have come to understand that there’s an inner way of drawing using an inner eye.”
I remember very well when at school there two types of drawing; you draw through observation or imagination, but I have come to understand that there’s an inner way of drawing using an inner eye. You can draw while closing your eye. What pleased me more was the ‘My aspiration’ section. I drew the Lamu County Logo, where I aspire to be Madam President in 2017. Body mapping has interested me so much, I didn’t know we are to use canvas to draw, I thought we were to be drawn standing. The canvas was plain and white, I lay down here in the position I wanted and my partner drew my margin i.e. the body margin. I lay down wearing a buibui. I have shown what we use for fishing. I said I want to be the voice of the weak people because since 1997, I was first lady Councilor to be elected here. So right now I’m aiming higher to be her Excellency. To stand up and speak, that is why you see me in this position in my bodymap. My hand is showing my aiming higher to touch the sky. Two fingers symbolizing peace, due to historical injustices witnessed in Lamu and other places. We need peace to reduce deaths. Here are the tears; this is how our earth looks like. So we need peace on earth. I thank God that I’m blessed, when I stand to speak, people listen to me and respond. Whenever I knock on offices they listen to me and assist. I have got so many ways of speaking to people e.g. through platforms, through composing poems, at wedding ceremonies and when people are mourning. Those are the chances where we meet and speak. I knew I was an artist but practically never drew anything but composed poetry, not in painting. In this room I had a lot of practice and have been helped with my friends here to paint and use colors and symbols to come up with a very beautiful piece. I’m used to are pencils and crayons but not water colors, which have proved to be the best. It is a hard exercise but very good. We have mixed black, red and yellow to come up with this brown color here.
I just want to comment on peace. Nowadays all over Kenya, coast regions, upcountry, there’s no peace at all. You will hear that in Nairobi there’s a bomb blast, a month later you hear in Nakuru there was a bomb blast, same applies to other places in the Country, Mombasa, Lamu, Garissa. So let us unite and find ways and means of creating peace.
I’m proud of being Kenyan because it is my homeland, my country and I love it. There’s also freedom of life, you can live any life you feel like. There’s peace in Kenya, because of the young and energetic President we have, Uhuru. The people in Kenya are my people, from my community, we speak same language, we have same culture, same lifestyle, there’s justice in Kenya and patriotism. So I feel I belong to Kenya.