The painting represent my culture. I come from an Arab community. The tradition is that when you get married you put on a Niqab and you wear green gown. This is the painting of a green gown. The red dress is a dhera. It is a free-size dress that a woman puts on for decoration to look good. I put it on the body because you know the Arab culture is mixed with Swahili.
I drew an eagle inside the body. I chose an eagle because an eagle is a powerful animal he flies high and he has a good vision just like the role of a leader. I believe even a woman can be a leader.
The speaker in the painting so that to raise our voice as a way of resisting violence extremism. What makes me proud is that more women are becoming leaders in our country and they are representing their fellow women and making women empower themselves…that makes me proud as a Kenyan woman.
Through my artwork, I would like to say that we have that inner voice and we always need support from family to solve issues concerning our lives and as community at large we should be responsible for whatever is happening in our lives and we should support each other.
The person in the mask and the panga in the painting is about gang members who disturb people and takes the lives of many. The panga is to symbolize that it is not safe in the place where I live. The insecurity is something I hate about my place. Women and men are robbed by these gangs with dangerous weapons.
The football pitch is about an incident that happened to me some time ago and that affected my experience of belonging to my community. Once, I went to watch football with a couple of other girls. I was not passionate about football but I went there to enjoy and relax myself but then a group of men did not like us to be there. They were like why did you come here? I felt that I was not part of it and I felt discriminated. I kept quiet about it I did not tell my father because those men were so bad to us. Since that day, I never went to football again.
I think the challenges the Kenyan youth are facing are about the lack of job opportunities. When men sit around together, they poison each other’s mind and find interesting to attack someone and steal from them. Some of the thieves come from very good families but it is peer pressure. There are less job opportunities in my country and I feel like technology is taking over it because people from the town are complaining that the SGR is taking the employment opportunities because nowadays people no longer use the transport, the bus transport they go for SGR so I think many people are losing their jobs. That is something I hate in my country. Because you might be educated but you do not have a job, there is a lot of tribalism in our country and a lot of corruption in our country. It affects people who are educated they feel like they do not have a chance. Tribalism and corruption are part of violent extremism and leading to violent extremism. If you feel discriminated, that is part of it. You feel like you do not belong to this country.
Through this workshop, I have learnt about my culture, where I come from, who I am, violent extremism and ways to resist it. The way to put it on the painting felt so good. You express yourself and you relate to whatever you have drawn yeah. It feels nice when you paint and your thoughts you put them down yeah