Self-taught Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru (previously) fashions extravagant eyewear from pieces of found metal and other salvaged materials on the streets of his hometown of Nairobi. Kabiru has been building his futuristic glasses since childhood, and dedicates much of his time to producing works for his C-Stunner series of eyeglasses and coordinating photographs. Recently Kabiru has begun to expand his work to include large non-body-based sculptures, installations, and collage.
Kabiru’s practice is deeply tied to Afrofuturism, a genre that combines science fiction, magical realism, and historical fiction with the culture and politics of the African diaspora. His work was featured in the newly released Gestalten publication Africa Rising: Fashion, Design and Lifestyle from Africa. You can see more of his eyewear and larger sculptures on Artsy and SMAC.
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Digging through electronic refuse and found metal in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi, Cyrus Kabiru refashions found materials into different wearable forms. Often these take the form of flamboyantly composed glasses, large eyewear that can often mask the entire face.
Kabiru explains that his glasses obsession started at a young age, and blossomed as his father crushed his dreams of owning his own pair. “When I was young, I used to admire real glasses but my dad was a bit harsh and he never wanted me to have real glasses. That’s the reason I started making the glasses.”
His creations situate themselves in several different areas of art, shuffling between performance, sculpture, and fashion—embodying the playfulness of the youth generation in Nairobi. “When you walk in town and you see someone with my glasses, the glasses will [get] all your attention,” said Kabiru. “If you have any stress it is like a therapy.”
In addition to his found object sculptures and glasses, Kabiru is a self-taught painter, his subject matter being humorous portrayal of contemporary Kenyan life. His most recent series uses thousands of bottle caps sewn together to depict African nature. “I really love trash. I try to give trash a second chance. I change it to be something else, which is like it will stay for more than 100 years now.” (via prosthetic knowledge)
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.