Lisburn artist returns to Kenya for inspiration

editorial image

In September 2016 Lisburn artist Clinton Kirkpatrick went back to Kenya for the fourth time.

During the month long stay he would become the ‘Collector of Stories’ and record individual stories, from anyone willing to be a part of the work.

The collection of stories will form the basis for a large-scale body of work that will go back to Kenya in 2018.

In February and March 2016, Clinton organised an exhibition with his woodcut mentor John Silver Kimani. Seacourt Print Workshop, in Bangor, hosted the exhibition after they applied to exhibit there. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the curator of the Nairobi Museum, National Museums of Kenya, in Nairobi, got in touch and gently expressed interest in the idea of a joint exhibition between the two artists back in Kenya. And so the seed was sown.

Clinton came up with the idea to record stories from Kenyan people. It would be these stories that the artist would directly make work in relation to.

Clinton was equipped with a camera, a microphone, and a sketchbook. This would be the equipment that he would use, more or less every day, through the month of September.

The story was to be any story, a personal story, ancestral story or a fictional story. Clinton recorded every story on film and photographed each participant.

The stories came in all shapes and sizes, some two minutes long, some an hour and a half long. There were stories about growing up, killer bee farms, great witch doctors, big feet, animals and all their personalities, passion, abuse, near death experiences - among many, many others. Clinton recorded stories from 88 people from children to older persons.

Within the next year Clinton will make work about each and every story.

He will interpret each story into a visual form and it will be these artworks that will, hopefully, return to Kenya in 2018 for another exhibition at the Nairobi Museum - dates to be confirmed.