Hosted by Goethe-Institut, contemporary artist Michael Soi presents a series of 17 paintings celebrating women from all over Nairobi, bringing you different takes on the...
What is the role of Art in our lives? And is Art only static, inanimate, or can it be a living, breathing medium?
Artist Yazmany Arboleda, founder of the Glassless Glasses Studio, wants to explore these queries. On November 7th, his “Monday Morning” public art installation will involve giving 10,000 bright yellow balloons to commuters at Central Bus Station on their way to work. The only request: That the commuters promise to hold on to the balloon until they arrive at their jobs.
“The non-choreographed parade of neon yellow balloons in the heart of the city will transform what spectators and city-dwellers would otherwise think of as an ordinary daily morning commute into a sequence of unexpected celebrations,” says the spiky-haired, energetic artist during a visit to our offices.
The installation is part of the Glassless Glasses Studio’s “Living Industries Project” that revolves around rethinking art and its role in our lives. Nairobi will be the third city in the “Monday Morning” series of installations. Over the past year, 10,000 neon orange balloons were handed out in Bangalore, India, and another 10,000 neon green balloons were given to citizens of Yamaguchi, Japan.
“Figuratively, the balloons represent celebration. They make us think of the happy moments that punctuate our lives. By contrast, the often-monotonous nature of work makes this juxtaposition all the more compelling,” explains Yazmani. “This art piece hopefully opens up conversations about what we think and feel about work, and how we approach it each day. The disparity between the repetitive nature of work and the charm and playfulness of a balloon – or thousands of them moving in a given landscape – imbues this art piece with a broad range of meaning.”
The installation is organized in collaboration with The Nairobi Arts Trust and runs from 6 a.m. until noon. When asked about the issue of participants’ security in the face of the looming terror threats, Yarzmany says, “Despite the fear, it is important to take a stance. You can’t hide and do nothing; you’ve got to stand up. However, we will have both private security and police stationed at the bus station. The Mayor of Nairobi is also expected to attend.”
So if a friendly face with a kazi t-shirt offers you a yellow, helium-filled balloon next Monday, don’t be shy. Take it. And take a picture with it at your workstation, then share it with us at @UPNAIROBI or post it on our wall at www.facebook.com/UP MAGAZINE.
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