Dennis Muraguri, an artist whose work reflects the social culture around matatu, was kind enough to visit us this morning with some of his paintings. It was fascinating to hear his perceptions of the matatu industry particularly after we had discussed them in our sessions yesterday. He explained that the art work on the matatu and the music inside them are reflections of society and culture in Nairobi. At the Go Down Arts Centre, our first afternoon stopping point, we began to realise quite how strongly people see matatu as a symbol of Nairobi, as we spotted them in many of the works of art by different student and professional artists. The next step was to see the matatu in action in the centre of Nairobi. We walked alongside one of the matatu terminal stations adjacent to the train station. It was during the evening peak and the hustle and bustle was almost overpowering to a newcomer there. There would be no chance I would have been able to negotiate the area without our local participants showing us the way! We didn’t actually travel on a matatu but we did experience the traffic up close when we took a walk through to the CBD and then during our minibus ride back to the hotel.
After our art-filled day, it will be interesting to see where tomorrow’s workshop sessions take us.