LOOP Barcelona

CYRUS KABIRU

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EXHIBITION TEXT

Barcelona, Spain

04.06.15 – 06.06.15

The End of Black Mamba I is the first in a series of short documentaries about the decline in usage of the fixed speed bicycle in Kenya.

The artist estimates that in the 1980s and 1990s 80% of the Kenyan population used the iconic bicycles – almost every household had a ‘Black Mamba’. In 2014/2015 that number has dropped to below 30% as people replace their bicycles with scooters and Chinese manufactured motorbikes. In memory of these bicycles, Kabiru began a project recycling discarded and outdated bicycles and transforming them into unique sculptural assemblages.

Filmed on a flower farm near Mount Kenya, Kabiru speaks to cyclists who still use this traditional mode of transportation. This generation praises the ‘Black Mamba’ for its reliability and health benefits, claiming that the bicycle’s replacements, scooters and Chinese motorbikes, bring sickness and death.

In this film, Kabiru consciously takes on the role of the antagonist, taking the position that the ‘Black Mamba’ will indeed be replaced and cease to be seen on Kenyan roads.

CYRUS KABIRU | The End of Black Mamba I | 2015 | Video | 04:49 minutes

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