Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru turns trash into intricately-designed eyewear that will make you second guess whether they were made from recycled materials! His work involves collecting trash from Nairobi and turning it into sculptures, eyeglasses, and bicycles. Kabiru’s aesthetic of part afrofuturist, part diesel-punk bleeds into his artworks:
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When in London, “I get shining metals, even some wire and copper – very colourful trash,” he says. “If it’s plastic we get a very bright plastic. You have unique trash. Very clean.” Airport staff are frequently intrigued by the contents of his luggage. Happily, he says, “I connect with everyone very easily. If you’re a pastor, I’ll connect with you very easily; if you’re gangster, I’ll connect with you very easily.”
Now, his C-Stunners are exhibited all over the world, drawing the interest of creatives and tastemakers from designer and curator Duro Olowu to Yasiin Bey, who visited the artist’s studio in Nairobi. Ever more outlandish and mask-like, they defy any normal conception of eyewear.
A 2017 piece is composed of a flattened coral-blue paraffin lamp base, decorated with long metal eyelashes and a piece of circuit board for the forehead, while another almost entirely obscures the face with a sun-like construction featuring a wire mesh centre radiating white spokes.
Image credit: Cyrus Kabiru/ SMAC Gallery.