Proximity To Power
Circle Art Gallery, 12 July – 12 August 2017
Artists: Peterson Kamwathi, Onyis Martin, Longinos Nagila, Nicholas Odhiambo
Re-questioning the hate that (self) hate produced as an aftermath of colonization while revisiting scars from our past
Proximity to Power looks at the Kenyan voting patterns while trying to understand why we have repeatedly let the ruling class chaperone us into ethnic enclaves with politicians negotiating/cutting deals on the account of their ethnic populace; and the common perception being that all Luos will vote for a Luo candidate, while all Kikuyus will automatically vote in a Kikuyu etc.
As a country that has thrived on our diversity, Proximity to Power interrogates how the prospect of a person from our tribe, race or religion ascending to political power influences our choices making us temporarily compromise our moral values/standards and congregate with ‘our own’ regardless of their reputation. It is an objective confrontation of the rising xenophobia in Kenya while looking within to interrogate this uncomfortable subject.
It looks at the irony of copying from the colonial guide book – divide and rule, detaining & banishing dissidents, intimidating & executing opponents, high handedness and marginalizing communities perceived to be anti-establishment as a way of solidifying one’s ethnic base while attempting to dissect how innocent phrases like “It’s Our Turn to Eat”, “Tyranny of Numbers” and “My People” have been twisted into political slogans that are misconstrued to marginalize others therefore leading to exclusion and inequalities.
It’s an attempt to interrogate how the Proximity to Power syndrome has been used as a political strategy to ascend to and retain political power with the illusion that ‘one’ shall benefit more if someone from ‘their’ community ascends to political power while looking at how ingrained hate for the ‘other tribe’ has created prejudices and a discriminative culture and stereotypes that we use to justify the fear we have for the other ethnic group/race/religion.
Curator: Thom Ogonga assisted by Don Handa