Last summer, among our whirlwind tour of Nairobi’s burgeoning art and fashion scene, we stumbled upon these crazy glasses at Kuona Trust Centre For Visual Arts . Well, C-STUNNERS to be more accurate by artist Cyrus Kabiru. When we saw them, made of recycled material aka junk, like spoons, bottle caps and car parts, we knew the world would love them.
In less than a year of spotting his ‘stunning’ creations, the found object artist is having his first solo exhibition in the U.S at the Frank Pictures Gallery in conjunction with the Ed Cross Fine Arts Gallery in Santa Monica. The show is from March 1 – 9.
If this wasn’t exciting enough, during his first visit to the U.S., he spoke at TEDTalks (in photo below) in Long Beach, the non-profit organization promoting revolutionary ideas where everybody who is anybody has spoken (Elizabeth Gilbert, Steve Jobs, BONO, etc).
In his studio at Kuona Trust, Kabiru told us why he started making these fantastical specs in the first place. “My father wouldn’t buy me glasses and I wanted them so much. He said, ‘If you want glasses, go out and get them’. So I did, collecting whatever I could find and making glasses.”
Who is Cyrus Kabiru?
He is also a sculptor and painter. Here’s what he has to say about himself, via Kabiru’s TEDTalks biography page:
I am a visual artist currently practicing in Nairobi, Kenya. I am a self taught painter and sculptor. My paintings are often humorous portrayals of contemporary living within Kenya. I adopt the role of a flâneur, the observer, explorer, and lounger using my paintings as the output for my experiences.
My sculptural work embodies my role as a “collector” of Nairobi cast offs. I fashion and refashion these waste, recycled, and found materials into various forms. Currently I is focusing on a series that depicts African nature using thousands of bottle caps sewn together.
I am perhaps best known for my C-STUNNERS, an ongoing work which I create and wear artistic bifocals. The work sits itself between fashion, wearable art, performance, and one of a kind commodity objects. The C-STUNNERS have a certain energy and playfulness that really captures the sensibility and attitude of a youth generation in Nairobi. They portray the aspiration of popular culture bling; they reflect the ingenuity and resourcefulness of people; the lenses provide a new filter giving a fresh perspective onto the world that we live in transforming the wearer not only in appearance but in mind frame as well.
Cyrus Kabiru C-Stunners Exhibition, Frank Pictures Gallery, Bergamot Station, A-5 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404
March 1st – 9th 2013 with a Private View on Saturday 2nd March 5.30 – 8.30pm
2nd C-Stunners photo courtesy of Ed Cross Fine art, TEDTalk photo by Ryan Lash, the rest by Voyage Vixens