Kisauni, where I stay
My painting is like a rainbow: every colour means something. The blue is for the ocean in Kenya and the green is for the forests and other types of natural vegetation.
‘Stop the killings’: This is about gang violence and drugs. Nowadays Muguka leaves, marijuana and drugs are everywhere. Even if you do not have money, they will give you the drugs on credit. We need help from God and the Prophet. We need help from the community, the government and companies with job creation.
‘Stop police brutality’: This is about police brutality. When I was arrested in Tanzania, I experienced police brutality. They beat people in jail. Police brutality needs to stop.
The red marks on the painting show blood. Blood is everywhere in our veins, but they want it out of our bodies. In our bodies blood has its use, but outside our bodies it symbolises abuse.
‘Stop war feed the poor’: Unity, love and peace first come with empathy. They have money for the war, but they do not have money to feed the poor.
The white color is for peace, black is for our race, the red for the bloodshed and green for the vegetation.
This is a shield. It is a symbol of resistance. By drawing a shield, I wanted to state that ‘I resist extremism’. My ability is that I am shielding, not urging anyone to make fights. Feed the poor: if you feed me and give me a job, then I am good. Love first comes with empathy and with understanding each other. That is what will build unity and peace. It is a very individual thing.
You know, the environment which you are in changes you a lot. When I came here, you made me a good person because I was not smoking. In the five days we have been here, I have felt very good. I feel sad now because it is ending. However, I have gained something. I have learned about violent extremism and that to resist you need to start with yourself. I have learned how to draw, to paint and to mix paints in different colors and it felt amazing. I also learned to communicate with others and to share stories that I have never shared with anyone before.
Many people do not know how to draw, and so when you ask them to draw, they would feel skeptical. At first, people would say to you, “Are you kidding me?” But, in a real sense, art can make social change. This is because in people there is a language barrier. Many are using broken English, but art expresses everything.