I pull through a drive way lined with cool green trees to a welcome of three pet dogs wagging their tails at my sight. I experience an immediate feeling of calm and serene existence all around me. See, it’s Saturday morning and am in the leafy suburbs of Rosslyn at the one off contemporary gallery compound.
The property is on a rather steep hill winding up-to the river Ruaka that gushes it’s brown cold waters through it. There is a blend of nature and art here, the buildings have been built into the environment, the hues are in line with the earth, the browns, greens, grey you name it. I wander into the sculpture garden and sample the works of art, mostly by fellow Kenyans. Its breath taking, one is of steel cast showing a woman multi tasking with a baby strapped on the back and wares balanced on her head. I stride further into the garden uncovering other sculptures, some of them animals like antelope in between abstract ones with colourful glass embedded on them.
One of the friendly staff invites me to sample the Banda by the river.It is a nice site to seat on the green chairs and while time away, soaking in the scenery of the river flowing below and two beautiful pieces of art, one looking like a large pineapple plant on full bloom. I spend some time taking photos of this hidden gem. I walk back to the main gallery on a pathway made of circular tree trunks and stop by a large totem like sculpture to admire the detail and hours of workmanship that went into it. I am told it’s almost two tonnes in weight and it took twenty persons to carry it from the truck to the spot.
The main gallery is filled with art right from the entrance. There is a group of wares made from wood and metal crafted by a local self -help group.On the other side of the entrance is a wheel hanging on the wall, it’s entirely made of colourful soda and beer cans. All the art here has a price and I would say well worth an art lovers’ wallet. I stroll inside the whitewashed walls and marvel at the contemporary pieces all over the venue.They tell a story, one of resilience, love, patriotism, dreams and aspirations of the people in Kenya.
I stop at one particular painting on stretched canvas, I’m drawn to the bright colours and background of a man in uniform on it. I snap a picture of it.The host is friendly and will handle any questions you may have. I seem to loose track of time as I delightfully stare at a sitting area next to a tall cypress tree surrounded with blooming wild flowers, a carpet of lush green grass, and a bird fountain half filled with water. This gallery is a fulfilling way to rediscover Kenya.