Cyrus Kabiru: A Collective Dream of Humanity in His Art

Cyrus Kabiru: C-STUNNER

His collections are special to Cyrus Kabiru. His grandfather was the first person in his hamlet to own a radio, so everyone would gather and listen, which inspired his 2020 radio series. As a family heirloom, his grandfather’s radio was passed down to his father, and to him and his brothers.

Cyrus Kabiru creates creations out of trash using his skills in sculpture, photography, and fashion to address issues of consumerism and waste. Self-taught artist Cyrus Kabiru got his renown for his “C-stunners,” a collection of whimsical eyewear sculptures that he painstakingly made out of waste he collected from the streets of Nairobi and other places. He received international recognition for his whimsies from people like Mos Def and Duro Olowu, the former having organised exhibitions including Kabiru’s spectacles. created in the style of Hélio Oiticica’s “Parangolés.”

The artist claims that by recycling and repurposing colourful kitchenware, wood, cables, bottle caps, and other unwanted materials, he feels like “a warrior of nature” protecting the environment.

The artist has also boldly self-portraitured himself to chronicle his work. He has created sculptures out of abandoned objects including bottle caps, cutlery, radios, and bicycle components by using a nonjudgmental approach to his materials. His works look at how humanity as a whole affects the environment while imagining a brighter future for the species.

Popular collections including the Saatchi & Abel Collection and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York hold pieces by Kabiru.

At the core of his work, Kabiru believes, is giving old things a fresh identity. He created a visual arts centre in February 2020 close to Thika, a town northeast of Nairobi, so that other artists may show their work, develop, and receive guidance and inspiration.

Between the fancifulness of his works is a gravitas that is imbued by history, nostalgia, and a certain kind of hope. Perhaps it is every artist’s desire to dream of a brighter world, a dream of humanity that liberates the creative nectar from the Múses’ bosom.

Cyrus Kabiru remains an artist to watch, appreciate, and learn from, indeed.

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