Exhibition: Matatu Project by Dennis Muraguri, Jan. 13-Feb. 22 2012 @ Le Rustique Restaurant
Born in 1980, Muraguri has a Diploma in Painting and History of Art (Graduating top of Class) from Buru Buru Institute of Fine Arts, Nairobi. This collection of wood cuts is his first solo show in Kenya.
Matatus are a constant sight in Kenya and an icon of all its cities and towns. As well as being the main mode of transport, they also provide ‘street theatre’ especially when running from the police and at the same time as competing for customers!
There is also a creative side to the matatus . This involves “souping up” or upgrading the bus to attract more customers using heavy decorative paintwor k, stickers and labels derived from current local and international brands mostly in the entertainment industry, loud music and plasma screens. These kind of matatus are called “manyangas” and are most notorious for wreckless driving and overcharging.
“As an artist, I have been wanting for some time to do a body of work on the matatus: they are exciting to watch, especially the drama that surrounds them, the fact that they feed a lot more people than those directly involved through extortion and bribes, their relationship in our society shows how they have evolved to beat the law, is all fertile creative territory for me.”