The Extelecom House Murals

Artist: Victor Mwangi aka Viktart Mwangi
Location: Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi, Kenya
Year: 2023

The mural wraps around the exterior of the Extelecom house building. This makes It the largest in East and Central Africa and the fifth largest on the continent, covering a massive 2,280 square meters and visible from street level.Kenya's material culture is celebrated in the mural's imagery, which includes the female form adorned in an elaborate necklace, Fauna and flora; as expressed through the giraffe and birds, Kenya stature as the home of long-distance running; as depicted by the imagery of runners, Ways of life; as illustrated by the fisherman and also National symbols; the lilac breasted roller is Kenya’s National bird.The majority of those who have encountered and continue to experience the Extelecom House Mural are primarily Kenyans engaged in their daily economic and travel activities. Other than the unidentifiable human forms, the other elements within the composition of this mural art are part of collective knowledge and thus broadly recognizable.Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, this mural pays homage to certain aspects of Kenya’s collective past and also aims to express aspirations for a shared future.Viktart has consistently expressed his desire and preference to express himself through the medium of the wall Mural. He places a high value on the Mural as a medium for communal access, sharing, and also in its potential to become a site for collective ownership.

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The artist embarked on this journey with the intent of creating a piece that would resonate with people from all walks of life. His vision went beyond the present moment; he aimed to craft imagery that could endure the test of time, transcend physical boundaries and manifest itself in the digital realm through the rituals of shared experiences.The artist's choice of subject matter and visual elements was deeply rooted in Kenya's rich cultural and natural history, connecting the past with the present. These elements, steeped in the essence of Kenya, are easily recognizable to those who gaze upon this mural. It's a testament to a nation's heritage, a reflection of its people, animals, places, and significant contemporary and historical events.The journey to create this masterpiece was not a solitary one; it was a collaborative effort between the brilliant artist, Viktart Mwangi, and a dedicated client team. Countless discussions and consultations occurred, fueling the process were digital renders of the proposed mural walls. These renders evolved, each iteration bringing the composition closer to perfection, until the final vision emerged.To breathe life into this grand mural, Viktart Mwangi and his team embarked on an intricate journey. The exterior wall of Extelecom House underwent meticulous surface preparation, setting the stage for the transformation to come. Outline sketches were brought to life with vibrant spray-paint, and layers of flat, bold colors were carefully applied, solidifying the mural's foundation. With a well-practiced synergy, the artist and his team divided their roles, ensuring that each element was addressed with precision. The final touch, the intricate detailing that brought the mural to life, was lovingly executed by Viktart Mwangi himself.

The Murals of Extelecom House have significantly enhanced the visibility and accessibility of the public-facing Mural in the Nairobi urban landscape. This particular Mural stands out not only for its sheer scale but also for the fact that it is currently the largest Mural in East and Central Africa, ranking as the 5th largest in the entire African continent. The magnitude of this achievement cannot be overstated, and it has played a pivotal role in catalyzing a positive transformation within Nairobi's city governance structure, particularly concerning the place of public art and creative expression within the structures of the city.Historically, the administrative and commercial sector has often not been very supportive, and, at times outrightly prohibitive towards creative initiatives within the city. However, thanks to the unwavering focus and exceptionally high standards demonstrated during the creation of the Extelecom House murals, there is now a growing recognition of the latent power inherent in creative expression, particularly in reshaping the city's image and perception.In recent years, we've witnessed a surge in initiatives that promote and expand artistic and creative expression throughout the city. A prime example of this expansion is the mural commissioned by the county government to rejuvenate the exterior of the City Market structure, a historical building dating back to 1930. Moreover, City Hall, under the leadership of the governor of Nairobi, has taken the bold step of commissioning a permanent graffiti mural on its own edifice. Young artists, street photographers, and creative individuals exploring the realm of urban photography now operate with significantly fewer restrictions and less scrutiny within and around the heart of Nairobi.The direction set by the administration of the Central Bank of Kenya has gone a long way in building confidence towards the potency of this kind of support and collaborations. The success of this mural project has also been instrumental in broadening the public awareness of the city as a place of beauty and culture beyond the mechanics of daily activities.

Progress Agency