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Art

Graffiti artists find new home in a train wagon

BSQ with Lydia Galavu at Nairobi National Museum. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG
BSQ with Lydia Galavu at Nairobi National Museum. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG 

Graffiti artists have been busy of late, painting the town red, blue and all other colours of the rainbow. That’s because most of them are on a mission to not only beautify the city but also leave meaningful marks wherever they find walls on which they can paint.

BSQ were initially acting autonomously as Ken Otieno, Brian Musasia and Bebeto Ochieng. But it didn’t take each one of them long to acquire a new identity: Ken became KayMist, Musasia turned into Msale and Otieno became Bebeto Thufu.

And not long after that they formed a bond that led to the creation of BSQ. They moved their base of operation, like so many Kenyan artists do, from their respective studios to Dust Depo, a place that’s become the happy home to a myriad of young Kenyan artists.

But BSQ as a team and trio kept getting called upon to create both on walls and wood as well as on canvas.

Their recent exhibition in late 2017 at Nairobi National Museum was so successful that they realized they had to diversify their media.

The experience was a kind of ‘graduation’ compelling them to realize that their graffiti art had an audience that couldn’t take home graffiti-covered walls and put them into their homes. That same audience was demanding graffiti that they could take home and call their own.

Swift Elegwa spray painting the old train wagon. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

Swift Elegwa spray painting the old train wagon. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG

That is one reason why they troika realized they needed their own studio. As much as they loved Dust Depo and valued working with Patrick Mukabi and other artists working there, they required room to stretch out on their own

Last Saturday, April 7 is the day BSQ officially opened their studio at the Kenya Railways yard behind Dust Depo at the Kenya Railways Museum. Renting an old retired passenger car of their own, they invited fellow graffiti artists like Swift Elegwa and Bank Slave to come along and make their mark on the car.

In fact, a slew of local artists showed up to ‘christen’ the former VIP car and even spray paint a section of it. Clearly, BSQ’s new home is going to be a venue that many artists will be attracted to and some will even aspire to be as successful as is this highly energized trio of Ken, Brian and Bebeto.

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