Category Archives: Opinion

Kenyan Graffiti Artists Spray for Political, Social Change


NAIROBI — Some of Kenya’s graffiti artists have become a voice for social change, using their art to push boundaries and make statements about the country’s political elite. Nine years ago, Kevin Esendi aka Bankslave dropped out of art school and embraced his first love – graffiti. Most of his fans and fellow artists now know him by his street name – “Bankslave.” “Bankslave” has risen to become one of Nairobi’s foremost graffiti artists. He says the art form – which some consider a public nuisance – has evolved in Kenya to become an outlet for political opinion. “Graffiti is a […]

Graffiti artists turn to walls with a stinging political message


he images hit you hard in the face. They virtually jump out of the concrete surfaces they are painted on. A huge, menacing vulture sits on a throne with a briefcase overflowing with cash cuffed on his wrist with a chain. Around it is evidence of all manner of scandals that have taken the Kenyan economy on a free fall. In another, vultures arrogantly walk around with their families. These images are all over the city of Nairobi, courtesy of the deft hands of a group of young graffiti artists. They are in public toilets, buildings and roads. Their message […]

Meet Bankslave, Kenya’s King Of Graffiti Art


IMAGES: L-R FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM BANKSLAVE In an interview with CNN for the African Voices segment, we meet Bankslave, one of the artists to pilot graffiti art in Kenya. IMAGE: FACEBOOK/ BANKSLAVE Like many artists, Bankslave always knew he had talent when at the age of nine and ten he would scribble on walls and get a proper beating from his mother. IMAGE: FACEBOOK/ BANKSLAVE He grew up in Kibera slums and when in high school, he picked up the art, inspired by the graffiti on Kenyan matatus. IMAGE: MATWANA MATATU CULTURE His work is a showcase of Nairobi characters. Bankslave says: I want to […]