Climate Art in Kariobangi

by Benedict Muyale

Taking climate change discussions to the affected

Kariobangi, Nairobi, Kenya

We witness intense rainfall, dangerous flooding, buildings collapsing, our businesses or kiosks swept away by rainwater. And the heat that follows after the rains is intense enough to make us feel like Nairobi is nearer to the Sun than the planet Venus. This is what brings the fact of climate change home: living locally the greatest challenge both the poor and the rich face in the 21st Century.

Climate change can be an unapproachable, tedious subject of discussion. How do we make it interesting? Our Climate Art campaign breaks the rules by getting outside of scientific jargon and bringing the discussion to the people through art. Through poems (spoken word), rap or dance or a song on climate, through photographs of a planet under extreme stress, we bring this discussion straight into people’s lives.

To make sure this awareness stays at the heart of the community, we painted a graffiti mural on the walls at Kariobangi. This awareness is the starting point for taking responsibility to avoid destroying our planet and stealing the future of our children.

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We received overwhelming messages from over 300 locals who attended the event on 21st May 2016, in Kariobangi.

With such demand for more Climate Art events, we now have a vision to take this discussion to other urban slums in Nairobi, together with the artists. These artists share the same vision with us that climate change needs to be taken to the streets. After receiving 50 applications from various artists in categories of music bands, spoken word, graffiti and photography, we know there is a need and an interest to further develop this kind of community meeting.

It is interesting how many of the artists who applied had basic knowledge of climate change impacts, yet very few of them had participated in such campaigns. Climate change is a challenging cause to talk about, and so is not taken up by most people the way popular causes like the fight against malaria or campaigns in defense of girl children.

So we brought Climate Art to Kariobangi, and our final 18 artists were trained on Understanding Climate Change, so they can better communicate and educate others.
Photos courtesy of Green Sun Cities. 

Benedict Muyale is the Founder of Green Sun Cities and Co-ordinator of CCL Kenya.

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