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Kipipiri 4: Bobo

Osborne Macharia

1986 - Present

Kipipiri 4: Bobo

2017
Chromogenic colour print
120 x 150 cm

Osborne Macharia‘s storyline revolves around the Mau Mau movement, which began in 1959 during Kenya’s struggle for Independence. Militant activists revolted against British colonialism, its policies, and its local supporters. Although defeated, their rebellion set in motion Kenya’s freedom from colonial rule. In 2015, a memorial was erected funded by the British government to commemorate the Mau Mau fighters, thereby acknowledging the brutality of this anti-colonial initiative.

Macharia’s fictional Mau Mau warriors belong to a special unit of five opticians who wear special hand-crafted spectacles used to spot the enemy at night. This fictional photographic series reimagines the Mau Mau movement, set against a landscape of alternative realities.

Bobo was the leader of the Kipipiri 4. Once she did her hair, she would walk majestically and gracefully across the village without uttering a word. This was a message to the village women that at midnight they were going to visit the men deep in the forest. Her hair was twisted and curled in a complex design to form a route map to the caves that only her 2nd in command would interpret. Never did they get lost or caught.

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