roadside artists

The roadside is where the action is. There are some things out there you never get to see while travelling in a car. This especially applies to those Wazungu folks in their posh & red number plated 4WD cars who spend some years here and then say they’ve stayed in Aaaafrikaaaaa. Yeah, right.

Something like this (scrap metal art):


the car


the musician


the kichwa tembo


the kichwa again, this time with a flamingo and an old jacket


a stalled eroplani


TingaTinga paintings within nice wooden frames made out of driftwood – something where the Kenyan part in me argues that these frames can’t be good kwani they are already broken and the styler-part in me thinks: woah, yeah, great safari design, these guys have nice & inspiring catalogues.


And then of course Bwana fundi seremala who takes 2 weeks to complete the door frame for this Lamu-door. Whoever ordered this door will receive some piece of really nice work. Think of something like Ksh 25.000/= and we’re in business. Now that’s even more than what my colleagues in Embu earn every month. Jobgroup J & K in the public service, you know?

There’s something about this City of Nairobi that always makes me come back.

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.

6 thoughts on “roadside artists”

  1. JKE

    Did you realize that the artist did a great painting of you holding up a camera to take a photograph of this work? (2nd from the bottom?)

    Nice post.

    Where was this, Racecourse? I remember seeing one artisan there who was actually doing art (as opposed to functional stuff like those ugly windows and doors to keep majambazi out and watoto in.


  2. Hi,..
    Very nice pictures as usual!! Have thought of hooking myself up with some of the ‘driftwood’ furniture – I love the ‘old’ look! but first like most kenyans I need a better job!

    Thanks for clarifying that you DO ask for permission to take photos

  3. We, Mzee
    this blog becomes more and more interesting every day. Maybe becoz your life is so interesting or you manage to keep your eyes open so that you won’t miss the interesting parts. I envy you, don’t even have time to browse these days. Life is boring and busy and I would like to change a great part of it. Well, keep it up, and maybe one day my stuff becomes interesting too. Still haven’t lost hope!

    Take care!

  4. The world looks very different from the comfort of a car vs actually getting out and mingling with the people. Cool pics! I’m always impressed by artistic talent.

  5. @Steve: yes, the artist caught me quite well :-)

    The location is just in front of Village Market, next to the German School in Gigiri, next to RedHELL Road.

    @Anja: thx, but my life is just as ordinary as yours. And Nairobi is full of small details that just need to be caught and portrayed. Your blogging from India was awesome!

  6. youre very interesting!i love the pictres especially the one of uhuru park in the afternoon!sigh…these are the things that make us homesick.and the art, kenya has talent, loads and i love diggin it out, youre pictures reminded me!

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