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Animation alumni exhibit at prestigious Turner Contemporary

A collaborative project between some of Kenya’s brightest young artists and our recent Computer Animation Arts graduates are to exhibit at the UK’s prestigious Turner Contemporary gallery. The show, Transformation/Mabadiliko – When Art Met Computer, tasked six of our BA (Hons) Computer Animation Arts alumni with bringing to life the winners of the Mobile Art School Kenya (MASK) Prize, an annual competition run for young artists. The exhibition opens on 12 April and runs until 22 May.

Fahima Munene and Steven Payne, Lamu Under Orange Skies

The MASK prize aims to promote creativity and the value of the arts in the context of wider societal growth and transformation in Kenya. Themed ‘Young People: The Creative Nation’, it provides young people with the unique platform to celebrate, share, and unite in their creativity.

The work is currently on show in its animated format at the Zandra Rhodes Gallery at our Rochester campus, and was previously shown in its original form at the Saatchi Gallery.

Speaking of his experience working on Lamu Under Orange Skies with Fahima Munene, Computer Animation Arts graduate Steven Payne said: “As I learned more about Fahima, the artist I’d been partnered with, and her life in Lamu, the importance of schemes such as MASK became very clear to me. Creative expression and the expansive means to do so are something that we all take for granted. MASK and initiatives like it provide young people with the means to be creatively expressive and foster skills that would otherwise be neglected in their everyday lives, as well as encouraging sociability, independent thinking and cultural exploration.”

Another of the animators to participate in the collaboration was our 2014 graduate Nat Urwin, who re-imagined the work of some of the competition’s youngest prize winners, four-year-old Allan Kiptoo and nine-year-old Shela Forster.

Shela Forster and Nat Urwin, Our Home

“Once I’d received the project, I asked the artists things such as how their artworks were supposed to feel like if they were brought to life, what stories they were telling, and what materials were used to create them,” said Nat. “I had already decided on the styles of animation based on the images themselves, but the information given by the artists helped decide the content of them.”

“These projects are very important for bringing culture and skills together, and above all they're inspiring to a wide audience, most importantly, the young artists. I know I would have had great inspiration if my drawings were brought to life by professionals when I was a kid.”

Edwin Wainaina, a young Kenyan artist whose work was re-imagined by our alumna Samantha Niemczyk, said: “Working on this project opened for me the whole new reality, art became a whole new concept."

Computer Animation Arts at our Rochester campus is highly regarded within the industry, with graduates going on to work not only in artistic animation but also film, television and advertising. You can find out more about this course here.