Despite running his own offline TV station in Githurai, which he switches on especially for guests who come to see him at his home studio, Evans Maina Ngure prefers to be known as a Junk Artist rather than a DJ or anchor man.
He also doesn’t mind being called a Scavenger, but surely not a socialite or celeb since he really doesn’t have time to be seen in ‘high society.’
In fact, he will only be there if it’s to make a special delivery of one of his junk works of art.
Nonetheless, Ngure could easily be described as an entertainer since he’s a sort of mobile junk fashion model whose wearable art is ever-changing and much sought after.
He is entertaining because he is something of a trend-setter, a guy who rouses public curiosity since nobody knows what new hand-crafted item he’ll be wearing next.
Mostly, Ngure is known for his junk-art jewelry which appeals to both women and men, especially among youth under 30.
In fact, both men and women are keen on his hand-crafted metal pendants and leather wrist cuffs. But even his accessorised belts and leather bags are most marketable.
Nobody seems to mind that Ngure’s jewelry, bags and other leather goods are redesigned from ‘found objects’ that he collects in Jua Kali joints and junk yards all over Nairobi.
Over the holidays, he says his scrap-metal wind chimes have also been best-selling items.
“It’s not easy to get scrap metal since the market for it is huge.
The biggest buyers are Chinese who send it in bulk back home to be melted down and reused for making cars and other goods,” he explains.
The Kenyatta University graduate (2013) is surprisingly conversant in scrap-metal sales since he not only uses it in his jewelry- making but also in his junk art ‘paintings’ and especially with his wind chimes. On the local scrap-metal market, he says a kilogramme of aluminum goes for Sh150 while iron goes from Sh15-Sh30 and stainless steel can fetch as much as Sh250.
“At one point in my life (after university), I was down with the chokora collecting iron nails that I sold so I could eat,” Ngure admits.
Fortunately, his life has picked up since then thanks to the man’s resourceful ingenuity and shameless style of transforming trash into treasures.
In the New Year, Ngure ’s off-line TV show is scheduled to be screened at the British Institute of East Africa. Otherwise, you can see it in Githurai.