2nd edition of PAWA festival showcases true Kenyan art on the street

December 18 marked the second annual PAWA Festival, the charged festival was held along the famous Koinange Street in Nairobi Kenya.  As I carried my hair-ladened head making my way to the venue, I couldn’t help but obey my hurrying feet that responded to the blaring speakers. I couldn’t wait for the queue to move before I ran to the free security guard for the now too familiar security check, or is it hugging that happens in the public spaces?

My first step inside the venue was destructed by pieces of art feeding my keen and restless eye. I barely made it to the visual art exhibition before a stench of rotting fish remains hit my nostrils. This is the stink that is very familiar to anybody conversant with the street on which Nairobi’s fish market is located .It is as if the smell was punishing the nasal glands since the eyes and ears have refused to take in the kind of filth brought by the corruption and bad leadership. But my nose for art would readjust to focus on the paintings; one painting by Abraham Aswani, A Kenyan visual artist, clearly inundated a happy nuclear family. The unmistakable aberration on the painting was the position of dad had clearly been left out with a transparent background. This is one of the ills that is no vice since rarely do we speak of, our missing dads and fathers because they are either out working late or they are no longer and the women are left to tend the infants. The artist had captured it so well and saddening-ly, so painful.
 There were other paintings and graffiti that addressed myriads of problems in society; corruption, Tribalism and poor leadership. There was also a photography exhibition of Kenya’s historical icons forgotten heroes, and a cartoon exhibition that outlined the stagnating reality of Kenya’s murky past and present.

Festival goers were also made to smile to the dreamy fortunes that BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) may bring if its proposal was made reality in major Kenya town transportation industry so as to ease congestion. BRT personnel were in town to sell the idea to Kenyans and also to use the festival to explain to those willing on how the system works. BRT is currently working with countries like Tanzania to ease traffic jams.   

Inside a tent just next to the arts exhibition was Boniface Mwangi signing his latest Memoir- Unbounded. The outspoken Kenyan civil rights activist and PAWA 254 founder launched the book a month ago. 

The festival attracted some great performances, the lineup included Kenya’s best poets and musicians who rocked the entire Sunday to a blaring Tomorrowland of bliss and fun. The performances were coordinated into a well truncated entertainment with different music and art performances. The list of musicians included Red Acappella, Gravity Band, Idd Aziz, Zikki and Serro. Flow Flani, Gcho pevu, Teardrops, Mufasa, Dorphan, and other poets would then let their words gloss over fiesta. Idd Aziz pulled out an intoxicating and at some point wild performance, thanks to his exemplary vocals that more than expressively drove the audience wild.

PAWA Festival begun in December 2015 with a brilliant display of art and culture. This year’s performance marked the second of such performance which are geared to making art and fun merge into one festival of fun as new and old party goers get to know what is rich in the Kenya art Scene. The festival also offers an alternate venue for Visual art showcase apart from the usual galleries and Studios.

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