Interview: Painting the Kenyan Scene

Art isn't a hobby or fun, art is work, in the art field you must be patient. There is nothing like imagination or illusion it is reality.

NAIROBI, Kenya, February 24, 2020/-- This beautiful Monday, we are privileged to have a painter and poet sharing her experiences in the Kenyan painting scene.

Let Kikao begin...

[Question 1] Welcome to Kikao. Juliana introduce yourself.

Juliana Mpapiyai (Mpapie) is a visual artist professional who started her journey in 2013. Art is a gift that I transformed into a skill; it's what defines and expresses whom I am.

[Question 2] There is beauty in the fusion of poetry and painting. Share with us.

Painting and poetry is a two-sided coin; as for me what I can't paint I can put down on paper and vice versa. The art field is wide and poetry field is deep and mysterious.

[Question 3] Your work shows a level of maturity and control that is exemplary. Briefly guide us in your thought process.

My work simply is about me, my experiences in life, physical, emotional and mental.

[Question 4] You have also engaged in environmentally conscious projects. Why?

I love nature, realistic and natural covers. That is why I engage myself with environmental projects such as the use of recycled materials to make decorations, interior/exterior decors and sculptures.

[Question 5] As a self-taught artist, what advice would you give aspiring creatives?

Nobody tells you you're an artist! You know from birth you're an artist. Define and express yourself on canvas.

Art isn't a hobby or fun, art is work, in the art field you must be patient. There is nothing like imagination or illusion it is reality.

[Question 6] How does your spirituality affect your work?

Am a Sabbath keeper (Saturday); whereby I don't work on that day. Challenge!!!!. Most exhibitions happen on Saturday. It's a bit complicated maybe not to be put down on writing for now.

[Question 7] It is 2030; what do we expect from Juliana Mpapie?

By 2030, I want to venture into environmentally conscious projects, sculptures, paintings with my own Gallery, mentor upcoming Artist, and currently I have one.

The written interview was compiled by Phineahs Munene – Co-founder of Wazo Moja for Juliana Mpapiyai (Mpapie) – of KNVAA

Distributed by Wazo Moja on behalf of Kenya National Visual Artists Association (KNVAA)

About Kenya National Visual Artists Association (KNVAA)

Formed in 2016, KNVAA is an umbrella organization formed by artists, entirely run by artists and managed by artists. We comprise of painters, photographers, carvers, sculptors, graphic designers, mosaics, glasswork, jewelry, leather-work and beadwork artists.

Basically what we say as KNVAA is very simple: Every artist must have a comfortable place to produce their work. Moreover, every artist must have a place or means to sell their work directly to the buyer.

KNVAA works on two levels: National level and Grassroots level.

At the Grassroots level, we have initiated county branches in over 20 counties. We mobilize artists to come together and hold elections and have a committee that runs their affairs in accordance with KNVAA policy. The counties with out branches are managed directly from the National level.

We do studio visits to encourage skills sharing, educate each artists about the spiritual aspects of being an artist. These all builds up to creating a support system for artists.

At the National level, we have established an Art Sector Review Committe that is looking into malpractices and practices in the visual arts industry and intend to table our report to the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Culture.

This is a key step towards influencing formulation of laws that actually serve, protect and promote Kenyan visual artists.

The core elements of KNVAA blueprint were used for inclusion in the creative economy and culture bill workshop held in Mombasa mid 2019.

KNVAA is one of the stakeholders in the formation of a collective creative economy association of Kenya, following the January 2019 Presidential directive towards harmonization of the entire creative industry.

KNVAA National Chairman Naftal Momanyi is one of the leading proponents for establishment of National Gallery of Art and National Art Council. KNVAA is deeply involved in the talks and planning for the proposed National Gallery of Art.