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Artsworld
Kenyan Taxi Art
Plus the world of Fado, homeless cartoons in the US and Colombia's "biblioburro".
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2009 09:04 GMT



Artsworld visits Nairobi where broadcaster Tim Njiru gives an insider's guide to the cultural scene in the Kenyan capital.

A common sight in the bustling city are the colourful local taxis "matatus". Each has its own, often graffiti-based design.

Kenyans have painted unique designs on the vehicles since time immemorial and it represents a significant part of the local culture.

Artsworld meets some of the matatu designers and discovers how "pimping up" taxis can be a profitable business.

Fateful music

Fado music has often been described as being the Portuguese equivalent of the Blues and is one the country's biggest exports.

Arguably the oldest folk music in the world, the origins of Fado in Portugal are unclear.

Some people claim Fado came as a dance from Africa in the 19th century and was adopted by the poor on the streets of Lisbon.

Others say it started at sea as the homesick sailors sang of their loneliness.

But the most commonly accepted explanation is that it came from the songs of the Moors.

What is clear is the mournful, passionate sounds of Fado, which literally means fate, is at the heart of the Portuguese soul.

Street art

After walking out on his last job with only half of his monthly salary, Steven Martin found himself homeless on the streets of Chicago.

With nowhere to go, an accomplished cartoonist, he turned to his drawings for peace of mind.

These days he gets up, has a coffee, smokes a few cigarettes before he heads to a coffee shop to start drawing.

Steve continues to eschew offers of a "regular" job and says that illustrating helps him keep his sanity.

Artsworld meets the homeless man who has drawn more than 1200 pages of cartoons comprising three volumes and eight stories.

Donkey work

A "biblio-burro" in Colombia literally refers to a man who travels by donkey bringing books to people.

Luis Soriano came up with such a concept when he realised that children in impoverished areas had no access to libraries.

If the kids could not get access to books he decided he would bring the books to the kids.

Artsworld accompanies him as he travels the countryside with his two donkeys laden with books, reading stories and providing vital resources.


Artsworld from Nairobi can be seen from Monday June 29 at the following times GMT: Monday: 0530, 1130; Tuesday: 0130, 1400, 2330; Wednesday: 1630; Thursday: 1430; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 1930; Sunday: 1030

Source:
Al Jazeera
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