My hair as a symbolism of my artistic journey over COVID-19. The date is March 18th, approximately a week since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Kenya. My...
- My hair as a symbolism of my artistic journey over COVID-19.
The date is March 18th, approximately a week since the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Kenya. My sister had planned to travel home on that week of 20th March for WOHD. But with the pandemic, it made more sense to go home near the family. I remember my dad’s million calls asking if my sis and bro had booked their bus home.
I didn’t know for how long they’d be gone. Much as they are in Nairobi for school, and I for work, it means we barely have quality time together but we always have the weekend and sometimes the nights together. Later, the president announced the cessation of movements outside Nairobi. Shit was getting real. I was going to be alone.. for a long time. Well, at least 14/30 days? I don’t remember. I just remember every presidential address had additional days. I fear being alone.
Mid April/ Easter weekend, I had planned a day of doing nothing. (I try to have such days bc I am a workaholic) I struggle with balancing my job, art and life. Most times the latter suffers most ?. I had promised myself not to do anything but chill to Kamauu, Raveena and DVSN. Till I held my multitasking scissors. I wanted to cut some fabric I ended up cutting my hair. Lol.
I have identified as an artist for along time about 2-3 years now. But I have for a long time struggled with artist identity. I see most renown artists are signed up to galleries with physical studios. I paint from my house. I have no direct affiliations with any art group and I felt like I needed to belong somewhere to identify as an artist. If you look at the Nairobi creative scene, almost all famous artistes are signed up to a label. It helps with marketing, positioning, street cred etc. But by yourself you have to extra extra try.
On my day of doing nothing, I decided to structure my own brand. Where will I be placed, who do I want to work with. What kind of art am I doing. How do I communicate my art and most importantly why exactly do I want to identify as an artist. Why am I doing my art. To whom will the benefits go.. so many questions around my Business Model Canvas.
I started taking classes. Painting classes to develop my abstract skills. Milan Art Institute had very insightful sessions on abstract painting. That really came thru?.
Let me take you back a bit.
End of 2019, I had visited my friend’s photo exhibition to raise funds for Inua Mimi Kibera. I met the studio manager and chat on chat & change of contacts etc we had planned that I’d do a solo exhibition around July 2020.
I was hesitant. 1. Vulnerability. 2. Vulnerability v..v.. imposter syndrome ( I loathe relating this to myself??)
Is my artwork worth showcasing? Am I good enough? What if people see some truths of me in my art?
All I knew I had to do was to create. With at least 20 ‘showcaseable’ pieces by July. Basically, I would do at least 3 complete pieces a month. Honestly, that’s a lot considering I am budgeting my weekends for creation and socializing ?
Good news is by July I had passed that mark but still ended up not having the solo. -story for another day-
Buuuutt you came through on my perfect date on IG live. Where we did the 7×7ft abstract live. Remember? Thank you?
Back to my hair. Hey?. I braid my hair myself all the time and by the perfect date, we already had white braids. To disguise the fact that I wanted white hair again ? but I want to see how patient I can get with my hair without cutting or coloring. I have to pat myself on the back for getting to six months with my hair?
But these six months have seen my art travel, earn a community on my socials, hit galleries and I sent my mom my first fully done artwork for our home. With confidence and pride. I have seen beautiful places. One Off gallery my God!!! Developing family with Karen Village peeps. (A sweet art & culture hub that you should visit).
Nichanue series is an inspiration of my hair growth with the symbolism of my afro comb telling my artistic journey. Check the series out on my Instagram account @nicy_amala
I am no longer worried that I’m not signed up to any gallery I am just creating art that will travel beyond me, live beyond me, inspire people, impact communities, bring joy to families, and educate you on various aspects of life.
Ps. Commission me to create something for you? Will you?
I am soon resuming work from the office. This makes me happy and sad at the same time. I want to focus to keep being an awesome employee at the same time give quality time to my art. Having to deal with the fact that I won’t have bonus time from saved travel hours and early wake up times. Basically, I’m going to miss at least 4 hours of my days that I dedicated to creating.? but we stay resilient kick ass everywhere like the queen I am! Ama?