Kibera is a large slum in Nairobi. Many of the households have pets. What does it mean to own a pet in a slum? In an economic situation where your own existence is to some extent uncertain, why add the additional burden of a dependent animal? Are pets about power or companionship? How do they fit in to the political economy of a slum?
The project is a collaboration with Mbuthia Maina of the Maasai Mbili collective and tries to explore these questions.
Nailed to trees all around Nairobi are hand-painted signs advertising all sorts of services. From Wooden Floor sanding to Dog trainers to Witch Doctors to Car Washes. Once you begin to notice these, they seem to be everywhere and finding them becomes quite addictive; a bit like a treasure hunt, a bit like seeing a graffiti tag all over your neighbourhood.
To me these signs functioned as a kind of public art, causing one to re-engage with the city through a different process; that of the searcher rather than the observer. I made a few signs in the same style advertising ‘Public Art’ with a telephone number. I received few calls.
The installation mixes some documentation photos of the ‘Public Art’ signs, with a selection of the other signs that I have seen.