Cyrus Kabiru

An extraordinary upcyced work from across the world.

Cyrus Kabiru has actively been pushing the boundaries of conventional craftsmanship, sculpture, fashion, design, art and photography since 2011.

Kabiru is a self-taught emerging Kenyan artist, best known for his elaborate and detailed sculptural spectacles or “C-Stunners”, made from found objects and recycled material sourced on the streets of Nairobi.

A confident and individualistic artist, Kabiru is eloquent and forthright in explaining his practice and resolve to follow his own path. These ‘Afrodazzled’ spectacular bifocals are entirely his own invention and are intimately linked to his life-story.

When Cyrus Kabiru was growing up, his father’s bicycle was the bane of his existence. He always fell while riding the simple metal roadster almost twice his size. Kabiru was responsible for keeping it clean, a difficult task in a crowded Nairobi slum. He would wheel the bike door to door, helping his father sell mosquito nets, hot water flasks, cups and plates and praying that the next house wouldn’t belong to a schoolmate.

As an artist he is fixated on those bikes that were once the main form of transportation across Kenya and much of Africa. His current project is an homage to the machine whose parts came from China or India but have always been seen as entirely local—the Black Mamba bicycle.

Making of Black Mamba

 

The Black Mambas are about more than remembering the past. For Kabiru, they represent a step forward in Kenyan art. “I always say we here in Kenya never had visual art. We used to tell a story instead. Now, I’m trying to make a story with an object,” he says. “The bikes need to have a story behind them.”