Dickens Otieno

“Finding meaning in things that seem otherwise useless is what interests me most and this coupled by the push to keep our planet green has influenced me to create my works by recycling used materials. Am a 33 year old Kenyan artist (sculptor and painter) at The GoDown Art Center. I currently work in recycled material majorly light beer or soft drink cans (foils) which I shred and weave through coffee wire into big fabrics which I in turn use in making dress sculptures.I have been inspired to make dresses coy they have been used by others to judge us and also by the fact we have used them to mask our weakness i.e spending a lot of time on choosing what to wear to look in a particular way. These cans are most suitable for my sculptures for their lightweight and ability to fold easily (they feel much like palm leaves which have been used by many generations to weave). They are also readily available in many colors which kind of inspired me as I was walking and came across an empty can one day after struggle to do the same with bottle tops which wasn’t giving me desirable results. My work also contribute to environmental cleanliness and waste resource management which has attracted local media such as KBC through the programme  vijana in action, KTN’s bongo la biashara  amongst others to inspire viewers across the country. I have participated in various exhibitions among them manjano where I was awarded with a 1st runners up prize in 2011, an exhibition in support of KCCL (Kenya Community Centre for Learning), a village public art competition where I won a first five prize 2012,a charitable exhibition to raise funds for hunger stricken northern Kenya by the village market in 2012,an evening with art by the little art gallery etc. This weaving technique also led to my participation in a workshop Bamcraft organized by KEFRI and UNIDO aimed at designing and developing new bamboo products to help internally displaced persons from mau forest sustain their living. In 2013 I went for a residensy  at Nafasi Art Space in Tanzania for an art exchange Programme between Nafasi Art Space and Kuona Trust. I have a few pieces in private collection and some in art galleries such as One Off Art Gallery, Little Art Gallery and The GoDown Art Center where I work from.”

Dickens recently became involved with the team at Quarrylab and displayed his work in the SEE HERE exhibition. He also delivered an artist talk about his work in front of the Nottingham Trent University master’s degree students.