 The grid The artist putting rub­bish to vi­sion­ary use

An artist who grew up next to one of Nairobi’s largest dumps puts rub­bish to vi­sion­ary use

The Observer - The New Review - - Agenda -

“I wanted to give trash a sec­ond chance,” says Cyrus Kabiru, 34, who makes art – in­clud­ing highly dec­o­ra­tive eye­wear – out of wires, pins, bot­tle tops and other de­tri­tus he finds on the streets of Nairobi and around the world. Kabiru, who grew up in a Nairobi slum, started mak­ing glasses as a child. “I tried to get my dad to buy me a pair. He was like, ‘I can’t, maybe you design your own.’” There was no short­age of ma­te­ri­als, with one of the largest dump­ing grounds in Nairobi next door. Kabiru be­gan turn­ing junk into spec­ta­cles. This caught peo­ple’s imag­i­na­tion; now he trav­els the world show­ing his art (he also makes bi­cy­cles and masks out of waste ma­te­rial) and giv­ing talks on cre­ativ­ity. None of his “glasses” has lenses. “They’re not for see­ing bet­ter; they’re for see­ing dif­fer­ent,” he says. Kil­lian Fox

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