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15 October 2014: Public art programme at Garden City to feature new works by Kenyan artists

Peterson hi res

Garden City, Nairobi’s newest mixed-use real estate development, has confirmed Peterson Kamwathi and Maggie Otieno as the first participants in its pioneering public art programme. Each artist will create a specially designed work for permanent display in the Garden City Mall and Garden City Park.

Garden City is Kenya’s first integrated residential, retail, hotel and office development, located on a 32-acre site between Junction 7 and Junction 8 on the Thika Road. The US$250m real estate project is the first of its kind in Kenya to include a public art component of such quality and scope.

Eight Kenyan artists were shortlisted by Nairobi based Circle Art Agency. Peterson Kamwathi and Maggie Otieno caught the eye of the judging panel with ideas which reflect the inclusive spirit of Garden City and its novel combination of work, home life and leisure time. The artists will complete and install their works in anticipation of the launch of Garden City during the first half of 2015.

Peterson Kamwathi is a popular Kenyan contemporary artist whose work combines provocative social commentary with technical aptitude and innovation. His artwork has been shown in Kenya, UK, US, Holland, Austria, El Salvador and Finland. Mr. Kamwathi’s series of steel sculptures, Viewfinders is composed of twelve brightly painted 8×4 foot metal panels representing the different residents of Nairobi. The sculptures will be positioned within the 3-acre Garden City Park, close to the open-air auditorium.

Maggie Otieno has been working as an artist for the past 18 years; her interest in sculpture began in 1996 after joining Nairobi’s Kuona Trust Centre for Visual Arts. She is no stranger to public art and has completed multiple projects around Nairobi. Ms. Otieno’s free standing sculpture Gate Keepers, will be located at the main entrance of the Garden City Mall. Constructed from wood and metal, the installation comprises eight stylised human forms interacting with each other.

Danda Jarolimek, Director of Circle Art Agency, the organisation managing Garden City’s public art programme, said: “We strongly believe that urban environments should be enhanced by well-considered artworks that relate to the social and cultural experiences of the viewer. Nairobians have had little opportunity to experience excellent, relevant art in a public context, Garden City will be a first. Peterson Kamwathi and Maggie Otieno are part of East Africa’s fast-developing art community and their work at Garden City exemplifies the growing links between the visual arts and the region’s economic growth.”

Koome Gikunda, Investment Principal at Actis stated: “Garden City is a new type of real estate development, combining different parts of life in one location. The scale and vision of the sculptures by Peterson Kamwathi and Maggie Otieno reflect the ambition of Garden City while promising a warm welcome for all those who visit.”