Street artists from Kenya and Ukraine recently unveiled a stunning triptych mural about Ukraine in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. Dubbed “Grains of Culture”, the mural is part of “The Wall” project, a series of iconic murals that have appeared in cities like Berlin, Brussels, Marseille, and Vienna.
“Grains of Culture” was created by Ukrainian artists Alina Konyk, Andriy Kovtun, and Nikita Kravtsov, as well as Kenyan artists Moha and Eliamin Ink. The painters hope that the artwork will help explain to the people of Africa the significance of Ukraine, including the fact that it is the source of many of the grains that African countries rely on.
In addition to the mural, the Ukrainian band Tvorchi performed at the unveiling. The group will represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest in May with the song “Heart of Steel.” Jimoh Augustus Kehinde, a member of the band, is originally from Nigeria and graduated from Ternopil National Medical University in Ukraine.
Kate Taylor, founder of Port.agency and curator of “The Wall” project, says that the artwork is meant to be a symbol of resistance, stability, and protection that separates Europe from war. She notes that Ukraine is dealing with an external demon, and the artwork allows for a dialogue about the world’s attitude towards Ukraine as “us vs them.”
The mural is the final of five that have been painted in cities across Europe. Nairobi is the first African city to host a mural in the series. The project has been facilitated by the Ukrainian Embassy, City Hall, and Phoenix House in Kenya.
The mural’s unveiling coincided with the one year mark of the Russia-Ukraine war, which began on February 24, 2022. Since then, Russia has been shelling parts of Ukraine, resulting in more than 200,000 soldiers from both sides either dead or wounded, as well as over 8,000 civilian casualties.
Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s deputy minister for Foreign Affairs, describes the invasion as an attempt to “destroy and eliminate” Ukrainian identity. She says that Russian invaders have closed Ukrainian schools and imposed their language and history on the people of Ukraine.
“The Wall” project is part of Ukraine’s efforts to reach out to its global partners for support since the beginning of the war. The mural aims to promote economic and diplomatic resilience between Kenya and Ukraine while showing solidarity against the Russian invasion.