On this week’s episode of African Voices, CNN International meets artist and environmentalist Cyrus Kabiru to learn more about the inspiration behind his work.
Kabiru works with scrap materials that he sources on the streets of his hometown, Nairobi. He tells the programme why this is his favourite medium: “I love junk. I never get tired of being surrounded by junk… When I was young I used to feel like I will give trash a second chance. Nairobi is full of trash so when I drive, I collect it.”
His passion for creating began at an early age. Kabiru explains: “In school I used to trade. You do my homework, I’ll give you an artwork. You do my exam, I’ll give you an art work. That’s how I survived. My dad would get mad with me because of my poor performance but I was happy.”
Kabiru credits his father for his success: “My dad always inspired me. He’s a fighter, he’s my friend.” It was his father who inspired one of Kabiru’s most successful works, the iconic Black Mamba Bicycle. Kabiru describes the memories that inspired this art work: “He used to have a bicycle and I was in charge of cleaning and maintaining [it]. He used to have a Black Mamba and it was very heavy for me, so I used to push it instead of riding it.”
Kabiru tells the programme that he can’t imagine fulfilling any other career; art is an essential part of his life: “Art helped me be who I am. Art is war. I fight but I never surrender.”
‘African Voices’ is sponsored by Globacom Limited.
‘African Voices’ airs Saturday 9th December at 1830 EAT on CNN International.
The show also airs at the following times:
Sunday 10th December at 0230 EAT, 0630 EAT and 2200 EAT
Monday 11th December at 0700 EAT
Tuesday 12th December at 1230 EAT