Samuel Githui's 'Zebra Crossing' @ The One Off Gallery Artist statement
"'Zebra Crossing'[ an area of road painted with broad white stripes, where vehicles must stop if pedestrians wish to cross or a type of pedestrian crossing used in many places around the world.] Its distinguishing feature is alternating dark and light stripes on the road surface, from which it derives its name. A zebra crossing typically gives extra rights of way to pedestrians."
Just the other day, I found myself juggling about different thoughts, due to the current global events, my need to try and capture the zeitgeist of the 21st century, revealed the contrast between the past and the present; trying to envision what tomorrow might bring then, I truly understood that we were living in a very difficult and trying time.
The creation and enactment of the new constitution in Kenya seemed to have brought meaning to me and my fellow country men.
In my mind I come up with an image that depicted two and vital conflicting entities which eventually led me to the phrase ‘Cross Hatching’ which then after thoroughly investigating and researching what seemed to be the order of the day in our contemporary quotidian life and time, I found out that the only point and place of entity that presents the best point of departure for this new body of works was a 'Zebra Crossing'. It presents the best metaphor out of these ''self proclaimed'' closets.
This bold contrasting stripes normally found on specific point on all major roads, are the only places or points under the sun [in plain open view] in our current system of governance both locally and internationally where the few privileged members of any society openly give a chance or a right of way to the underprivileged masses and the marginalized members of the society, ‘metaphorically speaking’.
As a way to address the social biases which act as ticking time bombs within different communities, genders, religions, tribes, clans, social statuses etc.
I think it’s obvious and it goes without saying that there is an increasingly great need to strike a balance for any functional society to forge ahead.
Personally…I believe there is need for a bridge where sobriety and sanity for humanity’s sake in every angle or perspective on how we weigh and looks at things that cut on the bias across the grain, for from my perspective, everything always seems to be pegged up all wrong.
Bei ya Jioni (Evening Prices)
Reaching to this conclusion, I present this collection of a multi-medium body of works which I approached through different medium, try and amplify my personal conviction and hopefully the toned down voices of the common masses who seem to be victims of the unabated political and social polarization of our beloved nation. 'Zebra Crossing', acts like a mirror to the society.
I would like to believe we all need each other as a people or as a country for anything productive and progressive to be realized to help us know our strengths and weaknesses on basically every point of view that we look at on every contributing factor across the divide.
Kusimama na kumi (standing room only for ten shillings)
On these quest, I am inclined to looking at the gray area for answers, i.e., by not settling on one point of view but rather at where the two points meet and trying to find an uncompromising or an unconditional way to bring certain conflicting factors and issues to a transverse link, be it through art, life, social well being, self dignity etc to light through each and every composition in this exhibition that reflects off our image as Kenyans and as a people.