Untitled #1. From Jua Kali, 2014
Edition of 7 + 2 AP
Sheet size A2 (594 x 420)
Lucia Pigmentprint on Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl Archival Paper 285 g/sqm
Print number: TCK1500X-1
Jua Kali is Swahili for “Fierce Sun” and is a term that is traditionally used to refer to the informal labourers who worked beneath the hot sun. Over the course of years it has come to be used in reference to Kenya’s informal economic sector, which is in fact becoming a crucial part of Kenya’s economy; it is now the Jua Kali sector that fuels the city of Nairobi.
The series represents the journey of the artisan on his path to self-creation, stemming from the informality of curating one’s life experiences to generate a perceived self-image. The Jua Kali sector is built from the opportunistic personalities and perseverance of the Jua Kali workers, who often use locally available recycled or found objects to develop their own creations.
Each portrait describes a personality who has created a surreal self-image to fit into Nairobi’s Jua Kali world. – Tahir Carl Karmali