Eggshell art sets Mukuru-born creative on transformative path » Capital News

NAIROBI,Kenya Nov 24 — Pablo Picasso once said art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life but for Micah Obanda art washed the dust of his past and gave him a second chance for hope in life.

Obanda who was born and raised in the shanty slums of Mukuru kwa Reuben faced a tumultuous life in school driven by negative peer pressure which fueled indulgence in vices that resulted in his suspension from secondary school in Form 2.

His mother did not give up on him as she successfully secured him a slot at Eastleigh High School, giving him as second chance. She believed the intense peer pressure in the previous school lowered his chances of successfully completing secondary education.

This opportunity not only enabled him to finish school but also allowed him to harness his talent in art narrowing on mosaic art.

“In my previous school there were no there was no art. In my new school, there is art but then the art teacher was chasing me away because she knew new students from other schools had indiscipline issues but she accepted me to the class,” Obanda, known for curating unique art using eggshells, narrates.

As his peers in school focused on securing white-collar jobs, he was deeply convinced that he wanted to become an artist.

But he always had jitters that the art sector in the country was not well paying and he might be forced to abandon his passion when rubber meets the road.

“I decided that I wanted to concentrate on art. I didn’t want to concentrate in another career that will separate from my career. Art was so strong to me that I didn’t want to do it as a part time,” Obanda says.

Art in Slums

In 2021, when he completed secondary education, Obanda decided to horn his ambition of being a renowned artist by looking for art collections to join.

Luckily, he found Mukuru Art Collection led by Adam Masava which was willing to accommodate him.

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“I didn’t know that art can sell in a very local place; I thought it sold in those fancy places. I was surprised when white and fancy people visited the Mukuru Art Collection. It gave me hope that I can do art and even focus on realism art,” narrates Obanda.

In his mosaic art space, he decided to make his art unique and stand out by using eggshells to make his art pieces which he says have been inspired by his surroundings.

However, Obanda has a soft spot for telling stories about women having been raised by a single mother.

“I get my inspiration from my mum, the streets and everything in mind. In case of anything that happen around me like violence ,I turn it to art.My constant subject is women,” he says.

To ensure he had enough supply of eggshells, Obanda often made trips to river banks and dumpsites to collect raw materials for his art.

“I used to collect eggshells along river banks, dump sites and from vendors. With time I have got people to help me. Like in 2021, I got someone who connected me to Sarova Stanley which is now giving me eggshells every month,” he says.

Career in Art

It’s never an easy journey for any artist to keep up with bills every month, especially given the uncertainty that comes with income fluctuations.

His resilience to keep dreaming and tell stories through art has been inspired by his mother who Obanda says keeps at it despite the ups and down.

 “I have been raised by a single mum and she is a business woman.In her career as a tailor during the ups and downs, she has remained consistent,” Obanda notes.

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Obanda believes that art is limitless one can articulate his dreams in all ways and forms despite the fears of fame fizzling out when at the peak of one’s career.

“You can get famous but then after sometime it fades away. What are you left with? I want to be consistent and always do art. Even when things are good or bad.I know I have a long way to go,” he says.

He believes, that for him, it is a daily adventure to make it against the odds.

“I want my art to be used as an education because in the world I believe there’s a lot to be proven. Even though they say nothing is new under the sun, I believe there’s a lot that can be figured out and made known to the world,” Obanda asserts..

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