In keeping with the aims of the project, the mosaic is made mostly from Kenyan quarried stone.
We collected off-cuts and broken sheets from Kenya Marble, a company in the Industrial Area
As the marble and granites were already around 20mm thick, creating even sized tesserae was not so
difficult once the method is mastered. The tesserae were all hand cut.
The mosaic is 20Mt long and 2Mt high, attached directly to the wall. At some point we will add some
video about the making and installation of the mosaic. It is a fascinating process. It was made
by Githaka Karuri and his team in a specially constructed shelter on their organic domain.
Once the mentoring sessions were over, the work proceeded quite quickly and smoothly.
I studied mosaic in my time at Glasgow School of Art. Stone mosaic was one of the ,materials I looked
at in those days. I have also worked with ceramic and Italian Smalti. I like mosaic, but there have
not been so many opportunities to work with it over the years.
For this project, I tried to find a Kenyan artist who could design such a work. Creating a design,
a scale drawing model or concept, is not very usual in Kenya. Art is not really taught.
For this project, the theme, Garden of Eden, was a given., the material was to be natural
stone preferably from Kenya. The mosaic was to be 20 Mts long and 2Mts high. The people
I approached either couldn't design it or didn't want to try. The clients asked me to produce
a design. This I did.
Githaka was introduced to me by Nani Croze who has a long established and for a long time, the only
glass studio in Nairobi.
Githaka was excited at the prospect of this large project, he had undertaken some ceramic mosaics,
but the use of stone was new for him.
I mentored Githaka and his team, firstly, simply how to hand cut the tesserae. Hammer cut stone.
Then we went through a long phase of how to interpret the drawings and turn it into this difficult
medium. We had a very limited palette of colours, so the interaction of the colours to each other
became of great importance. After reworking the first couple of meters about five times,
we finally began to get somewhere. Then the project could proceed mainly without my assistance.
The result is an incredible achievement.
The design makes reference to images from other European artworks. The concept begins with the Creation. The creation of the the light. What I wanted to happen was that we began at the left side with the creation, darkness from light, and ended with the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden. Here the mosaic again turns monochrome. The part in the middle, in the garden of Eden, is colourful, as colourful as the material allows.