TALKING OBJECTS ARCHIVE Residency: Karwitha Kirimi

April - July 2024

We are pleased to announce the latest TALKING OBJECT ARCHIVE residency with Karwitha Kirimi. Karwitha will contribute to the archive with their own artistic practise, which will be linked to objects from the TALKING OBJECTS ARCHIVE digital collection.

Karwitha Kirimi is an artist and writer based in Nairobi, East Africa. They work with words, images, ritual, and research. Their poetic practice attends to the word, the line, silence, and space. They use performance as a medium for ritual practice — they perform where their beloveds are to be found. For Karwitha, to be a cultural worker is to work with the very pillars of reality. Their explorations are fuelled by questions that emerge within the dark. Their work is in service of worlds where African babies are free, beloved, whole and complex. Karwitha is made possible by her ancestors and communities. They embrace play as a process and impetus. When not loitering under the trees, they can be found drinking the moon.

As part of the TALKING OBJECTS residency programme (April–July 2024), Karwitha Kirimi starts her artpractise with the question “What happens when we begin to grieve?”.

Grief is at the centre of Karwitha Kirimi's artistic practice and is linked to themes such as colonial and patriarchal violence, the destruction of nature and indigenous cultural production. The image of the ocean — drowning in grief — forms a recurring narrative in their work. For The Cosmologies of Objects, Karwitha Kirimi creates a portal of mourning. The installation invites visitors to enjoy snacks and listen to the sound of the sea as well as Karwitha Kirimi's poems. The smell of rosemary and the images of moving bodies of water generate an immersive realm.

Karwitha Kirimi creates an experience that appeals to all the senses and in this way emphasises mourning as a physical sensation. This can be understood as both an aesthetic approach and a socio-critical reaction. After all, the demand for spaces for mourning is also of socio-political relevance. Karwitha Kirimi's work thus raises critical questions about the conditions of mourning: What is mourned? How is mourning done? Who is given space to mourn?

From the 3rd of July 2024 until the 4th of August, their work Muuga? Grief is a portal; bring your heart, i’ll bring the water will be shown in the exhibition The Cosmologies of Objects at Villa 102 in Frankfurt a. M. 


Funded by the Goethe-Institut. 

© Thuranira Jones