Cyrus Kabiru refashions junk, recycled materials, and other found items from the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, into a variety of wearable forms. The ‘C-Stunner’ series of eyewear act as a post-colonial critique of development in Kenya. Constructed from mostly found materials, Kabiru’s sculptures use and question the local practice of jua kali, which is the Swahili term translating into ‘under the hot sun’, and is used as a general category for products and activities with which vernacular designs are made. That is, a jua kali oven or ladles and woks from the jua kali shop, or the workshops where the products are made are all referred to as jua Kali. This applies to kitchen utensils, chicken feeders, machinery and appliances as well as the actual making of the items themselves, and so jua kali refers both to the practice of making such artifacts and the artifacts themselves.
Cyrus Kabiru has actively been pushing the boundaries of conventional craftsmanship, sculpture, fashion, design, art and photography since 2011. Cyrus Kabiru was born in 1984 in Nairobi, Kenya, where he still lives and works. His first solo exhibition was in 2008 at the Wasanii Workshop in Kenya and he has subsequently exhibited in England, the USA, Sweden, Holland, Italy, Turkey, South Africa and in his home country. His work has been collected by Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa; Studio Museum, Harlem, New York, USA; Lemaître Collection, Paris, France; Han Nefkens H+F Collection, Nederlands; Helena Fernandino & Emilio Pi Collection, Madrid, Spain; Kuano Trust – (patronage of Robert Deveroux), Nairobi Kenya; Scheryn Art Fund, Cape Town, South Africa; and Saatchi & Abel Collection, Cape Town, South Africa.