New Mural In Nairobi, Kenya Slum Based on IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub Book

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IR arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, knowing no one. And like all our travels, like-minded people were attracted to us in the most roundabout ways. After arriving, we read a newspaper headline stating, due to security concerns, the USA & Australia wanted to pull all of their volunteers and NGO workers out of the country. Yet propelled by the kindness, warmth, and respect shown to IR and buoyed by the creativity of the people we met, IR spontaneously decided to create a mural project. In a few days, everything just flowed as we assembled a crew of Graffiti artists, technical assistants and filmmakers. The fact that IR managed to organize all of this without a phone amazed the locals. (It’s just what we do, no bigger.) They were also astounded that we arrived not knowing anyone, yet our intuition and the forces of dub guided us directly to the exact people we needed to succeed.
The Kenyan grafitti artists we worked created the mural based on a design by Brazilian IR conspirator Dubdem.
. Dubdem based his design on the recently published IR book “IR30 Indigenous Visions In Dub” and incorporated references to struggles in different parts of the world. Elements were pulled from the Palestinian liberation movement and the Idle No More aboriginal protests in North America to efforts to remember the murdered Brazilian indigenous warrior Galdino, dub references to Jamaican Ras Tafari and to dub master Augustus Pablo along with images from the campaign to Free Leonard Peltier
There was a memorable moment when IR first met the Graffiti artists and we noticed one of them was copying music from his laptop for one of his friends. Curious, we glanced at his musical selection and were amazed to see he had playlists with Asian Dub Foundation, Deeder Zaman and the solo album of Dr Das. All these musicians are IR collaborators. Not only was it a proof subversive music transcends artificial borders and obstacles created by politics, but for us it was also a sign we were working with the right people!

We were able to get access to a wall in the Korogocho slum where we could paint the mural. To understand present day Nairobi, is important to know the historical context that gave rise to these slums. Nairobi is a vibrant, thriving metropolis with some beautiful locations. However, when British colonialists built the modern infrastructure of Nairobi, they kept what they considered the best and most beautiful locations for themselves. Adjacent to the neighbourhoods where they had their big houses, they created limited substandard housing estates for their servants to live in—so they could have their servants arrive early to work and leave late. This housing was extremely limited in a strictly constrained area. When new residents, those with less resources, arrived to the city they were unable to build in what was considered the “good” part of town, so they they built in these areas which, understandably, became overcrowded, polluted, with poor sanitation and living conditions. These areas became the slums of Nairobi and into which were also dumped the garbage & industrial waste from the “good” neighborhoods. As elsewhere in the world, being a resident of a slum carries with it a stigma that can negatively affect a person’s possibilities in employment, keeping them down and out and out-of-sight; ghettoizing them.

The neighbourhood of Korogocho, labeled a slum, is viewed with great apprehension and fear due to the negative news reports coming from the Kenyan media hyping the violence. This, in turn, generates the socialization of the general society to steer clear of the place. Someone commented to us that they thought a great majority of the middle class of Nairobi had never stepped foot in Korogocho. They grabbed at a number, saying perhaps less than 20% ever took a step inside Korogocho. A news media that sensationalizes the violence and portrays the residents as lazy people who don’t want to work reinforces the stereotypes. Our experiences in Korogocho revealed that, despite the immense fear the community generates in the minds of many in the country, there was a lot more to the community than most people realize. To us, this emphasizes the importance of approaching and learning with an open mind and using one’s own critical thinking instead of relying on media reports, no matter how unbiased they claim to be.
The day of painting the mural was incredible and amazing. During the process of the painting, residents were asking great questions about some of the themes and names on the mural, which was the intent. To start a conversation about the themes. After seeing the quality of the work of the artists there were many requests to paint other parts of the community. Some were curious how we doing it and we explained this was a totally independent project not connected with any political party, NGO or government agency. This was just something we decided to do and with cooperation made it happen. One wise resident said to us “that’s the African way, when we used to want to get something done we used to come together and make it happen!”

African self reliance dub!

The Kenyan Graffiti artists Kerosh, Bhupi, Swift, Chege and Uhuru are a group of very talented and conscious artists. They really gave their all in the painting of the mural working with great concentration. There were some crazy scenes, especially the last night when darkness fell, true darkness as there was no lighting in the street at all. But there was a bit left to do, up high and, due to late hour and the closing time of where we could store equipment, we had already stowed away the ladders. In order to paint the last 5 percent of the wall, a crew of us had to hoist one of the artists on our shoulders while he painted in absolute pitch black, no-stars-in-the-sky darkness! This section was the cover of Dutty Bookman’s “Tried &True” on the wall. We couldn’t even see the print out of the book cover we had been working from, it was that dark. Luckily, we had memorized the text related to Dutty’s work, so we read it out aloud while the artist brushed it on the wall in his impeccable hand. It really was an unbelievable moment and a testament to the great skill and determination of these artists! IR was very touched by the words of appreciation for the mural by the residents of Korogocho. One of the great pleasures of making the IR mural in Korochogo was the participation of a resident Joshua who worked tirelessly of his own volition; helping us with many of the difficult logistics of preparing the wall for painting, the movement of equipment and tools, the mounting of banners and painting. Joshua worked tirelessly into the dark of the night.

When we talked further with Joshua and visited his house, which was adorned with Bob Marley posters, Joshua took us to see a side of Korogocho that we realized few in Nairobi had ever seen. Joshua is passionate about the environment and the replanting of trees and to this end, has created a nursery behind his house, with the seedlings of trees and he has worked planting hundreds & hundreds of trees in the area. He has worked with others to create a garden with different crops, a nursery with seedlings of trees and and he has dug into the earth to create a place where water from the adjacent polluted river can be filtered & used to water the gardens. He told me that this specific area, so healthy and green now, was once the site of scores of extra judicial killings/executions of youth in the area by amoral police. In the midst of the dust, corrugated iron, industrial waste-related pollution, and bitter, harsh memories, Joshua and others have created their own thriving oasis.

We invite anyone who is in Kenya to visit the mural. Here are the directions: when in Nairobi city center board bus from Ronald Ngala street bus number 14 that goes to Koribangi, the final stop. Korogocho is approximately 200 metres from the bus stop where Koribangi bus has its final stop. (Says so much that the bus doesn’t make it all the way to the people who need it the most.) The IR33 mural is at Daniel Comboni Primary School just as you get into the ghetto of the Korochogo neighborhood.

Upon reflection we realize the success of creating this mural is due to the combined collective forces of the energy, sheer determination and hard work of the residents of Korogocho who helped us, IR conspirators and the awesome Graffiti artists who gave their all to this project. Without these combination of energies and effort there is no way we would have pulled off painting a massive mural in just one day! IR is honored to have met some very special spiritually strong people who remained kind, open and generous despite a social context that often pulls them in the opposite direction and to these folks we give a special Rebel salute. (You know who you are.)

With all the attention electoral politics in Kenya was receiving, IR deliberately painted on the mural the following quote from former chairperson of the American Indian Movement, John Trudell, that is also found in the book “IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub.”

‘Leaders know you can’t trust one who follows. Followers know not to trust one who leads.”

IR had been discussing with the Graffiti artists how the F.B.I so feared the power of the oratory of John Trudell that they kept a 20,000 page file on him. We passed on some links to where they could listen to the words of John Trudell. As we were editing the video one of the Graffiti artists walked in. He was shaking his head and grinning. He said, “I was listening to the John Trudell. Wow, he is so so deep! Now I get why they were so afraid of him!”
you can view the video here

you can download the DUBuMENTRY video we made here
The DUBuMENTARY Download

http://streetartnairobi.com/ https://www.facebook.com/streetartnairobi

IR BOOKS ON LULU INCLUDING IR30 Indigenous Visions In Dub
IR has to also send out a special Rebel salute to the producers and musicians Dr Das, Ramjac and Sawandi. There is a tremendous amount of painstaking work and attention to detail put into these mixes, which most people are unaware of and so, we need to point it out. Dub folks really strive to make the highest quality work possible with their own resources. IR conspirators work for free. Often mixes are done over and over till we are satisfied with the final results! These three musicians extend us their time while juggling economic survival issues, being a good parent (our special dub salute to Sawandi who is a great father! Hi Sade!) as well as a myriad of other responsibilities. When these artists put so much effort into making tracks for IR it inspires us to reciprocate that same effort. So we can clearly state that the efforts of these 3; Dr Das, Ramjac & Sawandi were directly responsible for the genesis of this video!
This is an abridged version of an account of the making the mural found o the IR33 webpage

Reverb & Echos

More Dub About IR 30 Indigenous Visions

IR :: Indigenous ResistanceWelcome to this dub space! Over the course of time this will be where you will find extracts from this new book, musical tracks related to its contents , special audio readings of some the chapters  in addition to some of the beautiful art by Dubdem that is present in this book. This will be the place to find that extra dub that is attached to IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub.To begin, here is where you can find the full colour version of this richly illustrated 188 page paperback book .The book deals with a variety of topics.There is a special focus on indigenous rights espcially in Brasil ,the murder of Pataxo warrior Galdino and the reality facing indigenous people in Brasil.The political and spiritual links between Black and indigenous peoples throughout the Americas is also explored.All this is accompanied by beautiful artwork and posters by Dubdem and different images of street art and murals IR has created in different parts of the world like Colombia.

Dubdem has also created a beautifully nuanced black and white version of the book that we call the Shapeshifter mix.You can get it  here
and we are also happy that this version of the book is available for a more affordable $ 11. 20 price. Special thanks to Tapedave for the digital uploading,extra design touches  and logistical help to get this version online.

One of the things we will be doing on this site is to bring you IR:: Indigenous Resistance musical tracks that incorporate some of the text from the IR30 book. Tapedave has created this special poster for us


which we will use to  identify  whenever we post an IR musical track that uses as lyrics some text from the book  IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub.

For us we have always approached the words, knowledge , text in this book as something to be shared in different creative ways such as putting the words to music.

The first piece we would like to share with you is an Indigenous Resistance track produced by Herman Soy Sos Pearl called ” Indigenous and sacred” In this mix singer Christiane D sings some of the words that are in the chapter featuring Tohununo.

Here  are some of the words that you heard on “indigenous and sacred ” that are also in IR30 book.

“understand the concept of sacred things

learn that there are moments to hold things close

wait wait for the right moment to reveal them

because they will carry with them a scared power

learn learn to be quiet

there are moments to speak

moments to listen

in times of danger

be still


the money world

this money world is moving too fast

for people to take notice    of things

things that are important

this is the blindness that will defeat them

open your eyes to the concept of sacred things”

Dubdem poster found in the visual revolution chapter of IR30 book

Dubdem poster found in the visual revolution chapter of IR30 book

We will also be presenting on this site audio readings of excerpts from this book . You will be able to identify whenever we present an accapella reading from the book whenever you see this poster designed by Tapedave.

The first reading we would like to present is a passage which recounts the meeting and friendship of a revolutionary Ras Tafari writer from Jamaica and an Aboriginal child in Canada . This is a free download .

IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub is full of alot of dub art wether it is dub illustrations by Dubdem or various street art murals that IR has organised in different parts of the world.

Here is one mural  that IR organised  and created in conjunction with Colombian artist Chite Yarumo . It can be found in the Candelaria district in Bogota.From left to right you see Jamaican Ras Tafari poet& singer Jah9 who collaborated with IR on a track with Sawandi ” Galdino Pataxo Warrior” in honour of the murdered Brasilian warrior. Beside her is hardcore indigenous Hawaiian activist & author Hualani Kay Trask . The final figure on the right is Poundmaker a 19th century Plains Cree resistance leader from Canada. A very dub spiritual man Poundmaker had long dreadlocks which he refused to cut.

IR mural in Bogota by artist chite yarumo. The figures you see on the wall are Jah 9,Hualani Trask and Poundmaker. Theres code in the images .look carefully at them!

IR mural in Bogota by artist chite yarumo. The figures you see on the wall are Jah 9,Hualani Trask and Poundmaker. Theres code in the images .look carefully at them!

Written in spanish beside the figure of Jah9 is a quote from Douglas Cardinal that can be found in IR30 Indigenous Visions in Dub book.The quote on the wall says ” we need create a language which shows respect for women .If as men we walked in the shoes of women we would be outraged !”
Douglas Cardinal in the book goes on to further state “I think we have a responsibility to get over there with the women and to walk with them, we have the responsibility to understand where they are coming from, to listen and to respond to them. And it’s hard sometimes because they have also been programmed by men to be our reflection instead of themselves. But when women speak out that have an understanding of who they are as women and what their contributions is, we should listen and support them, rather than domineer and annihilate them and it should be our task to learn from them.”

Richard Marcus of the site  ” Empty Mirror ” has written a review of IR30 book. You can read it here
Here is a section of his review
“To my mind the most fascinating readings in this book are the quotes from Douglas Cardinal and John Trudell. Cardinal’s words on the nature of power and the way women are treated are stated so matter of factually it makes you wonder how anyone could act any differently. On women he sums things up very succinctly, “One has to state that all the premises that men have of women are basically wrong and you start from there. Even the language is wrong”. He uses the same directness of language in his discussion on the nature of power, “I have learnt…that the most powerful force is soft power, caring and commitment together. Soft power is more powerful than adversarial or hard power because it is resilient”.
Trudell’s words resonate with a different kind of power. He is someone who knows the power of the mind and the power of words (The FBI once referred to him as one of the most dangerous men in America simply because of the power of his oratory). In a poem quoted in the book he speaks out against the frameworks of European society imposed upon his people as being the instruments of their destruction. Why should he support purported democracy when all it has done is make of his people (along with African Americans and women) second class citizens who are treated like chattel? “We live in a political society/Where they have all power/by their definition of power/but they fear the people who go/out and speak the truth”.

Indigenous Jamicans – Image from IR 30: Indigenous Visions In Dub
Trudell’s summation of his oppressors’ attitudes is spot on. Why, if they believe themselves to be so powerful by their own definitions (money and societal position being the two we value the most), are they so scared of those who speak out about injustice and the poverty of the few? Are they afraid people will see how insubstantial their claims to power truly are?
Our governments give occasional lip service to the plight of Native Americans and Canada’s First Nation’s people, but their policy of doing nothing and hoping the problem goes away has now become official. New acts passed in both the Federal legislations of Canada and the US are designed to ensure the numbers of registered, or status, indigenous people decline to the point where they can take back the reserves and reservations because there will no longer be enough “Indians”. Yet anyone who dares speak this truth is called paranoid and deceptive. Who in fact are the more paranoid and deceptive – the ones cynically trying to get rid of “The Indian Problem” or the ones who are the subject to these draconian laws? (For anyone interested in reading about these new acts I recommend Thomas Kings’s The Inconvenient Indian.)”


This is the soundcloud link for the IR track “IR Dravidian:Dr Das Simplicity of Dub Mix with Indigenous Rebel Child Intro” contains a passage from IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub”

On this IR Indigenous Resistance reworking of dj Soundar & Jklur “Dravidian Spirit” you hear some new elements in this mix which was done by Dr Das. Dub Jamaican writer Dutty Bookman voices the following thoughts by indigenous activist John Trudell former chairperson of the American Indian Movement ..An activist whose power of oratory was so feared by the F.B.I that they had a 20,000 page file on him. The following is an excerpt from IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub”
‘Leaders know you can’t trust one who follows.Followers know not to trust one who leads.They say whoever has the most money has the most power.That’s not true.Whoever makes the most money ,basically is greedy !They say whoever controls the political vote system that’s power.No thats not power.That’s exploitation and deceit!But if we believe these things are power then obviously we dont know ourselves and we don’t trust ourselves enough to know that we are connected to the real power source which is life and earth.”

This is an accapela reading of an excerpt from IR 30 Indigenous Visions In Dub the chapter dealing with the realities and steroetypes facing indigenous people in Brasil