JUA KALI

Stemming from the informality of curating one’s life experiences to generate a perceived self-image. Inspired by the informal sector that breathes character into Nairobi’s economy. The Jua Kali sector is built from the opportunistic personality and perseverance of the Jua Kali worker who often use locally available recycled or found objects to develop their creations. I use this element of Nairobi to describe one’s perceived self-image created from the idea of the Jua Kali philosophy.

Each Portrait describes a personality that has created a surreal self-image to fit in Nairobi’s Jua Kali world. The images are created to look as if one adorned themselves with found objects, which somehow work together to make them superhuman.

JUA KALI is Swahili for “Fierce Sun” – referring to the informal labourers that worked under the hot sun. Now it is a term used for people that work in any informal way and used to describe work that is substandard. I want to change this perception as in reality it is the Jua Kali sector that fuels the city of Nairobi.

Series of 14 images One Metal installation co-created with Toney Mugo and Dennis Muraguri

Jua Kali: A photography and sculptural exhibition