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Biographies



Ananias Léki Dago

Ananias Léki Dago was born on November 2, 1970 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. After graduating in photography from the Fine Art School in Abidjan, traveling has become an essential source of his work: the Caribbean, the Middle East and also various parts of Europe and Africa. It was in South Africa that he started his project on Shebeens in the Townships, 2006–2009. He has just finished a subject that he has been working on since 2006 about Bamako crosses, another urban phenomenon in the city. / In 2009, Léki Dago won first prize in the PhotoAfrica contest in Spain with his work Identité? (Identity?).

In 2007, he was awarded the Bag Factory Residency Programme, working for three months in South Africa. In 2004, he obtained a distinction in the Kodak Prize for Critical Photography in France for his project Le train du Négus (The Negus Train), carried out in Djibouti and Ethiopia in 2001. In 2005, he won a scholarship with the Visa pour la Création (Passport for Creation) program, which was organized by AFAA /Afrique en Créations.

Léki Dago’s work is part of several collections in Europe and the US, including Galerie Photo Fnac in France, the Fundació Vila Casas in Spain, the Foundation Sindika Dokolo in Angola, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.

Léki Dago has participated in several international exhibitions. 1994: the first African Encounters of Photography (and other years thereafter); 2004–2007: Africa Remix curated by Simon Njami; 2007: Dynamics of Urban Culture at the 6th Bienal de La Havana, Cuba; 2008: Show, Johannesburg Art Fair, South Africa; Flow, Studio Museum Harlem, New York. 2009: Shebeen Blues at the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, South Africa; AfroEuropa: Incontri, Biagiotti Gallery, organized by New York University in Florence, Italy; and 2012: Bamako Fiction, Institut Français, Bamako, Mali.

 

Antony Kaminju

Born in 1972 in Kiambu, Kenya, lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Kaminju was trained in graphic arts at the Kenya Polytechnic University, at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, the Institute of Journalism, Berlin, and the Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg. He works as an independent photographer and lectures in Photography at Witwatersrand University’s Journalism department. Previously, he worked as a freelance news photographer in Kenya and was the Photo Editor of the Kenyan newspaper The Nation, from 2000 to 2005. He has been published in Jeune Afrique, BBC, Mail, The Guardian and The Sunday Times, South Africa, and has cooperated with Reuters. He has exhibited in several exhibitions in Africa and abroad, including the Bamako Encounters Photo Exhibit in Mali in 2009. He is the founder of Photo Multimedia Institute of East Africa, a collective of photographers based in Nairobi that started in 2012 www.pmi-ea.com). His work on the world of South African soccer fans from the perspective of Visual Anthropology is described in Antony Kaminju/Thabisani Ndlovu’s “Playing from the Terraces: Notes on Expressions of Soccer Fandoms in South Africa,” in African Identities 9, no.3 (2011), pp.307–27.
 

Ato Malinda

Ato Malinda was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1981 and grew up in the Netherlands, Kenya and the USA. She studied Art History and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas in Austin. She subsequently moved back to Kenya where she began her professional practice as a painter and now works in the mediums of performance, drawing, painting, installation and video, and also as a free-lance curator.
 

Barbara Minishi

Born in 1980 in Nairobi, lives and works in Nairobi. Barbara Minishi studied for a BA degree in Communication (Advertising & Print Media) at Daystar University, Nairobi. After a workshop with the British photographer Tim Hetherington and collaborating with David Beatty, she worked for an advertising agency and for NGOs. During this time, Minishi started shifting from commissioned works to self-initiated projects in art, documentary and fashion. Her first documentary series was on contemporary dance in Nairobi. She has also worked as an art director on two movies shot in Kenya.
 

Billy Kahora

Billy Kahora is a writer who lives and works in Nairobi. He is the managing editor of Kwani? and has edited six Kwani? journals and several Kwani? publications.
In 2007, he completed an M.Sc. in creative writing at the University of Edinburgh as a Chevening Scholar, receiving a distinction. Before that, Kahora studied and worked in South Africa for eight years and in between worked as an editorial assistant for allAfrica.com in Washington, D.C. He has a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a post-graduate diploma in media studies from Rhodes University. His extended feature, “The True Story of David Munyakei,” on Kenya’s biggest whistleblower has been developed into a non-fiction novella and was released by Kwani Trust in July 2009. He wrote the screenplay for the film Soul Boy and was a co-writer for the movie Nairobi Half Life, both produced by ONE FINE DAY FILMS. Kahora was also a regional judge for the 2006 Commonwealth Book Prize Africa region and the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. His short story Urban Zoning was nominated for the Caine Prize in 2012. He is currently working on his first novel and a non-fiction novella about Juba, Southern Sudan.
 

Boniface Mwangi

Born in 1983, in Taveta, lives and works in Nairobi. Mwangi has worked as a photojournalist for the Kenyan newspaper, The Standard, and as a freelancer for Bloomberg, the AFP, Reuters and The Boston Globe, as well as a number of other media outlets. He has been recognized as a TED Fellow and twice as the CNN Multichoice Africa Photojournalist of the Year in 2008 and 2010, and he is a 2011 Magnum Photography Fellow. Mwangi’s photographs of the violence that followed the 2007 election in Kenya, courageously taken by hiding his ethnicity and running great risks, helped document this part of Kenyan history. In his project "Picha Mtaani", he sets up a mobile photo exhibition held in towns across Kenya, showcasing the photographs to a wider audience beyond Nairobi (www.pichamtaani.org). Calling himself a photo-activist, he has engaged extensively in political debates and suffered the repression of the government. Mwangi was also part of the "24Nairobi" exhibition, which was shown at the National Museums of Kenya and Goethe-Institut Kenya in 2008. His most recent project is a hub for politically engaged photographers, filmmakers and artists: www.pawa254.org
 

David Kaiza

A.K. Kaiza is a Ugandan writer who has written as a literary and art critic for a number of years now. He worked briefly as a literary editor at Kenyan organization and publisher, Kwani? From 2008 to 2010, and was also editor of the on-line arts magazine, African Colours.
Kaiza was born in northern Uganda in 1975 and graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and Mass Communications. He is currently back in Uganda working on the building of the arts sectors, and is with a team of colleagues, running a monthly arts forum, WAZO Talking Arts.
He has written severally about African literature, focusing on its historical development, attempting to put in perspective the rise and influence of the African Writers Series. He has also completed work on the manuscript of his first novel.
 

Didier Schaub

Didier Schaub, cultural productor and curator is the cofundator and artistic director of the contemporary art center doual’art, founded in 1991 in Douala, Cameroun. He is the curator of the exhibitions from Cameroonian and foreigners artists invited. Those exhibitions are regularly produced by the art center. He is also directing the SUD, le “Salon Urbain de Douala” - in French- an international art triennial festival from doual’art, which produces and offers some art works to the city of Douala.
 

Eunice K. Kamaara

Eunice Karanja Kamaara, is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Religion and Theology at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. Her research interest is in African Christian ethics and development including issues of human rights. She also pursues the question of how religious leaders, in the name of Divine Law, contribute to human suffering including violation of human rights.
 

Jacob Barua

Born in 1967, lives and works in Nairobi. He is one of Kenya’s most important film directors and has worked across Africa and Europe. In addition, Barua has been involved in different media. At the same time, he is one of Nairobi’s most reclusive artists, very rarely appearing on the scene and displaying his works. Upon graduating from the University of Warwick, UK, Barua went on to study Film and Theatre Directing at the National Film and Theatre Academy in Lodz, Poland. He worked as a commissioning art director with a Warsaw TV station. His seminal film "Shades of Poland" was attacked by the local media and censored in Poland by state TV after opening a new discourse on the history of Poland that challenged established national narratives. He left Poland in 2005 and, in 2006, served as the festival director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Amongst his best known films is "Forgotten Places", a poetic epic on Kiswahili mythmaking. A major characteristic of his films is their incessant preoccupation with history, where the overarching focus is the place and function of memory, its loss and retrieval. His films simultaneously espouse a refined aesthetic of the image. A series of large-scale black-and-white prints, entitled "Blacksmiths of Their Own Fate", is, to date, his most enduring work in photography. The series Light & Form has been shown for the first time in the exhibition Mwangalio Tofauti.
 

James Muriuki

Born in 1977 in central Kenya, lives and works in Nairobi. Having experimented with different art media, he studied Management of Information Systems and drifted towards software programming and experimenting with graphics software. He then studied design at the University of Nairobi and started working with photography as a medium and a process for making art. He worked for some years, in various capacities, at the art gallery RaMoMA – Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art, which existed from 2001 to 2010 in Nairobi. From the 1990s onwards, Muriuki almost singlehandedly represented photography as an art medium in Kenya. He has had many residencies, e.g., with DIVA, the Danish International Visiting Artists Programme in 2010, and his work has been exhibited in Kenya, South Africa, USA, Denmark, Spain and Germany, among other countries. In one of few international exhibitions about art from Kenya, KenyaArt in New York in 2004, he was the only photographer. It was then that he participated in the milestone exhibition Snap Judgements: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography, curated by Okwui Enwezor for the International Center of Photography in New York in 2006, which gave Muriuki global recognition His work is also included in the renowned The Walther Collection. He had his first solo show in Kenya at the Goethe-Institut in Nairobi in 2010, curated by 3Collect, an artist’s collective, engaging the curatorial practice of which he is a member. He won an award in the pan-Africa photography contest during the 8th Tarifa Africa Film Festival in Spain in 2011.
 

Jim Chuchu

Born in Nairobi in 1982, lives and works in Nairobi. Chuchu began working as a self-taught designer and illustrator in 2006. He began working with photography and video in 2007. Chuchu is also a member of Just A Band, a geeky Kenyan electro-house-pop band, well known for its music videos. He co-directed the video that became known as Kenya’s first viral Internet meme starring the Makmende superhero character. Moving between the fields of music, film, art and design, Just A Band created two video art exhibitions for a white cube setting: "TRNSMSSN" in 2009 and "KUDISHNYAO! [TRNSMSSN_II]" in 2011, both shown at Goethe-Institut Kenya. As a photographer, Jim Chuchu was part of the "Amnesia" photography exhibition in 2007 and the "24Nairobi" photography exhibition, which was shown at the National Museums of Kenya and Goethe-Institut Kenya in 2008. He co-founded civic engagement, non-profit organizations Plan B and Kuweni Serious and frequently contributed to STINGO, a fashion/art project in collaboration with other artists.
 

Keguro Macharia

Keguro Macharia is a literary and cultural critic who explores the relationship between aesthetics and politics with a particular focus on race and sexuality. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2008, and his interests include Queer Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and African Studies. Macharia has worked closely with several contemporary Kenyan writers, poets, and artists, including Stephen Partington, Wambui Mwangi, Phyllis Muthoni, and Sitawa Namwalie. His writing can be found on his blog at www.gukira.wordpress.com.
 

Kevin Mwachiro

Born in 1973, Kevin Mwachiro has lived and worked in Nairobi for most of his life. After attending the city’s Daystar University, he later went on to study at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom, where he attained an MA in Radio Production. He has worked as a radio journalist and producer in Kenya, Uganda and the United Kingdom and was a correspondent for the BBC World Service.
Kevin Mwachiro is a member of the gay activist community. He volunteered at the now defunct TOMIK (The Other Man in Kenya) and more recently at the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya and the Gay Kenya Trust.
 

Mbũgua wa-Mũngai

Mbũgua wa-Mũngai is a Senior Lecturer and Chairman of the Literature Department at Kenyatta University, Nairobi. He obtained a PhD at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel in 2004. His dissertation which analyzed identity politics in Nairobi’s matatu folklore has inspired many scholars to study urban culture in Africa. His main areas of research are Popular Culture, Kenyan urban folklore and disability in culture. Wa-Mũngai has published several book chapters and journal articles on cultural signification in material culture forms. Some of his writings include “Made in Riverwood: (Dis) Locating identities and power through Kenyan pop musi”c (in Journal of African Cultural Studies); “‘No Mercy, No Remorse’: Nairobi’s Matatu Mode of Travel and Passengers’ Personal Experience Narratives” (in Africa Today Vol.52); “Iconic Representations of Identity in Kenyan Cultures” (in Remembering Kenya: Identity, Culture, Freedom) and “‘Ismarwa!’ It is ours: Popular Music and Identity Politics in Kenyan Youth Culture” (in Cultural Production and Social Change in Kenya) among others. Wa-Mũngai has recently been studying the nature and place of masculinity within Kenyan popular cultures. In this regard he received a Fulbright Research Scholarship at the Center for Folklore Studies, Ohio State University from 2008–2009, during which period he undertook research for a book on the representation of masculinities in popular culture.
 

Miriam Syowia Kyambi

Born in Nairobi in 1979, lives and works in Nairobi. Kyambi was exposed to art practice very early on in her childhood with Ugandan artist Teresa Musoke. In her formative years she studied at New England College in New Hampshire and then transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2002. Kyambi works with a variety of mixed media, ranging from performance, installations, collages, video, photography and ceramics, as well as with printmaking. Her work is based on research, often centered on themes of memory, history, cultural heritage and gender. Kyambi’s work is part of the Nairobi National Museum permanent collection in Kenya, and she has exhibited, among other places, at the National Museum in Bamako, Mali (2004); La Casa de San Fernando, Mexico City (2009); the Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa (2010); Karen Blixen Museum, Denmark (2010); and the Kouvla Art Museum, Finland (2011). In Kenya, she had a solo show at the Goethe-Institut in 2008. In 2009, Kyambi received a research scholarship from the Mexican External Affairs Ministry for a residency in Mexico City. In 2012, she received a research grant from the Welcome Trust Fund, UK. Kyambi is part of the newly formed artist collective, 3Collect, whose focus is on curatorial work and art education.

Photo © James Muriuki
 

Naomi L. Shitemi

The late Naomi Luchera Shitemi was a Professor of Kiswahili at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya and a Visiting Professor at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. She was also the Coordinator of the Bayreuth International Graduate School in African Studies (BIGSAS) programme. Shitemi was a champion of Theological Education by Extension (TEE) under the Anglican Church of Kenya and a Trainer of Trainers in Positive Parenting. Her research interest was in communication, discourse analysis and translation. The impact of globalization and localization on communication from social, cultural, economic and political dimensions further inspired her research interests. Her contribution to the Wanjiku dialogue and phenomenon is part of fulfilling this quest of research into language use and communication.
 

Nathalie Mba Bikoro

Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro is an Associate Lecturer (B.A. & M.A.) covering Philosophy, Issues of Representation in Media Arts & Photography, Visual Arts & Cultures, Post-Colonial Theory, Contemporary Performance Arts, Arts Management, Visual Arts & Cultures, Post-Colonial Theory, Philosophy with African Philosophy and African Political History. Taught institutions include Greenwich University London (Film & documentary production), South Bank University London (Issues in Representation, Media Arts Theory & Technology and Arts Management) in Humanities, Arts & Sciences Department, as well as teaching Contemporary Art History at Richmond Adult College (UK) and Post-Colonial Literatures at Leon Mba College (Gabon).




She is an independent curator in Contemporary Visual Arts, specialising on 'fractured' narratives in literatures of African Diaspora, border crossings and the politics of immigrations, colonisation and the slave trade economic triangle past and present. She is directing curator at ArtLab Open The Gate Gallery in London with monthly exhibitions programmes showcasing professional and emerging contemporary artists focusing on transnational dialogues & collaboration between cultures. 

She leads international performance arts & film workshops and festivals including Ateliers Sahm Brazzaville, Perpendicular Casa e Rua Belo Horizonte Brazil, TEAK Academy Helsinki Finland, and is Director of DNA Arts Foundation in Gabon, directing curator of Meeting UFO's international touring exhibition of performance and film, curator of Transitstation Live Arts Copenhagen (2010), amongst many others.
She recently published "How To Conjugate? Apoptosis of Identity, Orphaned Tongues and Drexciyan Moves in African Diasporic Narrative Futures" in Seismopolite’s journal of art and politics and is completing her PhD in Fractured Historical Black Narratives with reference to Performing the Body in Post-Colonial theories and the development of alternative spaces/communities in politically challenged areas.

 She is a visual arts and performance artist and has exhibited internationally including Dak’Art Biennale (2012), Tiwani Contemporary (2012), Cutlog New York (2013), National African Art museum Washington DC (2013), Perpendicular Brazil (2011), African Heritage London (2010) and Museum Africa Johannesburg South Africa (2011), A Twist in the Taile SAVVY Contemporary Africa Gallery Berlin Germany (2011), EPAF11 Warsaw Poland (2011), amongst many others. Her works have featured in Senegal´s Dak´Art Biennale 10th edition (2012) winning 2 international arts awards including Afrique Soleil Bamako Mali and Fondation Blachere France. 

Public Talks include 'A gaze through the lens of Contemporary African Performance' South London Gallery, 'Libidinal Bodies and the space of the Archaeological' (2011), LAPsody 3rd International Conference & Festival for Live Art and Performance Studies at the Theatre Academy Helsinki (2011), Greenwich International Post-Graduate Research Conference (2008-2011), amongst many others.
For more information please visit: www.nbikoro.com
 

Nicola Lauré al-Samarai

Nicola Lauré al-Samarai is a historian and cultural theorist and works as a writer and editor in Berlin, Germany.
 

Peterson Kamwathi

Peterson Kamwathi studied 3D/2D Animation at Shang Tao Media College, Nairobi. He started practicing art at the Kuona Trust Museum Art Studio in Nairobi where he was exposed to different techniques, including printmaking. Kamwathi has had four solo exhibitions to date and his work has been exhibited in Kenya, the UK, the USA, Holland and Denmark. He participated in the Fontys Academie Kenya-Holland Exchange in 2003, the Kenya Artists in Residence Program at the University of Kentucky in 2005, printmaking residencies at the London Print Studio and Bath Spa University in 2006, Thupelo International Artist 2006 workshop in Rorke’s Drift South Africa, the Wasanii International Artists Workshop 2004, 2006 and 2008, Art Omi 2009 International Artists Residency, New York, Amnesia conversations and the jet-lag experiment 2008 and 2009 and was a guest resident at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten 2010 and DAK’ART 2010. He currently lives and works in Kiambu and Nairobi, Kenya.
 

Sam Hopkins

Born in 1979, lives and works in Nairobi. Initially Hopkins studied Spanish and History at Edinburgh University, spending his elective year in Cuba studying at the University of Havana and San Alejandro Art Academy. He then went on to Art studies at Oxford Brookes and Bauhaus University Weimar, where he specialized in participatory practice and art in public space. In Weimar he started to work with the collective Usually4. In 2006 Hopkins returned to Nairobi on a permanent basis, where he co-founded the media collective Slum-TV with Alexander Nikolic. In 2008 he helped found Urban Mirror, a group of public space activists. Since then, as well as working on these long term projects, he has participated, both as artist and curator, in a broad spectrum of local and international exhibitions. Notable amongst these are: CPH DOX, Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival, Denmark (2008); It’s a pity we only exist in the future, Goethe-Institut Kenya; Transmediale, House of World Cultures, Germany (2009); Sketches (solo show), Goethe-Institut Kenya; Afropolis, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Germany; Qui Vive, II Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Russia (2010); Not in the Title (solo show), Iwalewa-Haus, Bayreuth, Germany; The Urban Culture of Global Prayers, NGBK Berlin, Germany (2011).
 

Simon Njami

Simon Njami is a Paris-based independent curator, lecturer, writer and art critic. Njami was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of "Revue Noire", a journal of contemporary African and extra-occidental art. He served as artistic director of the Bamako Photography Biennial from 2001–2008 and co-curated the first African Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Njami has curated numerous exhibitions of African art and photography, including Africa Remix (2004–2007) and the first African Art Fair, held in Johannesburg in 2008. Currently, Njami serves as adviser of the Sindika Dokolo and the Charles Donwahi Collections. He is member of the scientific board of The Morocco Museums Institution.
 

Tom Odhiambo

Tom Odhiambo teaches literature in the Department of Literature at the University of Nairobi. He studied at Moi University, Eldoret and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where he got his PhD. He researches and writes on literature, the arts, culture and the media. He is an amateur journalist who critics books, arts and culture in the Kenyan media. Odhiambo is a co-founder and director of Native Intelligence, a Nairobi-based research organization.
 

Tony Mochama

Tony Mochama is a writer and traveler who lives and works in Nairobi. As a journalist for The Standard newspaper— writing under the pseudonym Smitta Smitten—Mochama is one of the most widely read columnists in Kenya. With his infamous anarchic use of a mixture of different languages, he has for years been documenting and commenting on contemporary urban culture and the city life of Nairobi. Amongst his publications are a poetry collection What if I’m a Literary Gangster? (2007), a short story anthology, The Road to Eldoret (2009) and a crime noir novella, Princess Adhis & the Naija Coca Broda (2011). He was nominated for the Kenya Chapter of the Burt Awards in 2013.
 

Wambui Mwangi

Wambui Mwangi was born in Nairobi and currently lives in Nairobi and Toronto. She attended Loreto Convent Valley Road and St. Mary’s School, Nairobi, before graduating from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. She has post-graduate degrees (PhD) from McGill University, Montreal, and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. She has taught at Vassar College, New York, and the University of Toronto. Mwangi has a passion for post-colonial theory and Kenyan political history. Her scholarly work, fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and photography have been published in various journals worldwide.