The creator of this piece is a photographer who was born in Kenya. After Kenya refused her a passport, (both her parents had British Passports and one of them was born in Kenya), she was given a British passport when she was seven years old and she is currently trying to get her Kenyan citizenship.
“I was the only mzungu in the whole class. And it was younger Kenyans, middle class and educated. I was nervous about it. I was nervous about being completely different and I was treated as everybody else in an amazing way and I made great friends.”
I had an extremely positive experience, I went and did a graphic design course and there were about 40 people in the class year. I was the only mzungu in the class. And it was younger Kenyans, middle class and educated. I was nervous about it. I was nervous about being completely different and I was treated as everybody else in an amazing way and I made great friends. It was fabulous. This is really amazing Kenya.
I think that sometimes there is just difference and not culture. My great-grandfather was Austrian Jewish and he had left Austria before the holocaust. He came down to South Africa and later traveled up to Kenya on a horse and cart. My grandpa was born Jewish, in Kenya where there was a very British culture but he was Jewish. He went to boarding school in England and he was teased so ruthlessly that he ran away.
He left and he had terrible scars from that. So he was brought back to Kenya and yet he was brought up in this British environment and circumstance. The result of it was that he had four daughters including my mother who were brought up in a completely secular environment. 100% secular. No religion, Judaism was never mentioned, ever. Until on his deathbed, when my mother said to him, “Why have we never had Judaism in our life? Why has it never been mentioned?” His reply was that, “There is no place for us in this world.” And that was the end of it. And there is the difference.
My Body Map – Untitled
“A few years later, there was Post Election Violence in 2007/8. This was a big shake to my roots. With this so much travelling and being away I didn’t know I would be so affected by it. It really surprised me.”
I’m going to start off with my leg going out of the picture, I don’t know how that happened, but I quite like it. I liked the fact that it disappears off the page. I thought of putting it somewhere else but I like it there. Deeper blue is my favorite color that is why it became the color of my body. I will start with my boarding school experience, which has two opposing colors; I went from Kenya to a boarding school in England, it was very hard 5 years of my life. This symbolizes where I come from, the red is Kenyan people and the green is little me, a tiny minority of people. Red is the external part of my feeling, purple indicates total confidence. Out of this, purple arrows indicate the direction and the drive from this really powerful part of life feeling like an outsider and also included. Conflicting but it has allowed me to drive ahead. This is where I am now in my heart. Subconsciously I mirrored my face and I really like that. I love that.
I think that we have got to start really thinking on how we can approach the world as citizens of the earth. The bottom right of the picture is including people and these people are very much connected to nature, the Samburu, whom I am doing a big project with right now. The crumbled leaves above, signify a crumbling, we are crumbling. Unless we consciously act on our environment, we are weltering to dust.
I come from a white light and this is the peace that accompanies that. This too is connected to my life always. The stance for me is like a yoga position in the Africa Yoga Project, my aspiration from Kenya and I thought this is such a key place to put it. When I look at the AYP yoga teachers and the people who attend, everybody is part of it and that is how I see Kenya. It is a majorly inclusive wonderful space for the people to be, so growing and amazing. There is so much within that little picture, the growth, huge growth protected by peace, duality, nature and people who live in nature and all of us who need to be living in that space. Kenya is a gold medal, which is a light shining upon the rest of the world; we need to be a beacon. My hair is just crazy and has always been like that. So it was fun to create it with my feet. I looked at the whole picture and I kind of felt wow, it’s floating, too much in the air, and it needs to be grounded. I need to get a grounded feeling and I need to be grounded. So this the earth, I threw earth on it which is Kenyan earth and is around here, the leaves that is my kind of grounding, and then black and white but a dark color which is a serious passion of photography; for people. I’m fascinated and passionate about people; portraits and people and photography is a huge part of my life and career and so this is very important for me to put in. This is how I see myself, complex, a peacemaker, a growing consciousness to the environment, to myself and healthy and creative.
On the other side is my time line, born in 1980, went to boarding school in 1994, and later had a really life changing experience in Nepal, where I spent around a year in a village in the middle of nowhere, without electricity and teaching. Came back and travelled a lot. From Nepal, I went and did a degree in Anthropology at University, which lasted years because I kept deferring and travelled over a period of two and a half years working on Survivor. I then came back to finish my degree and came back to Kenya. A few years later, there was the Post Election Violence in 2007/8. This was a big shake to my roots. With this, so much travelling and being away I didn’t know I would be so affected by it. It really surprised me.