The Nest Collective

Presentation: 10 May - 5 June 2021
Location: Stroom, Hogewal 1-9 (subject to change) and online

The Nest Collective is a multidisciplinary arts collective living and working in Nairobi, Kenya. They create works in film, music, fashion, visual arts, literature and other media. Through these works they explore African urban and contemporary experiences, troubling modern identities, including LGBT+ identities, re-imagine the past and reflect on possible futures. Their interventions are designed to engage audiences, thus enabling nuanced discussion and debate of the issues raised, while also advancing aesthetic and artistic value.
Due to the covid pandemic and travel restrictions we are experimenting with the format of a hybrid residency.

Founded in 2012, The Nest Collective has created works like the critically-acclaimed queer anthology film Stories of Our Lives, which has so far screened in over 80 countries and won numerous awards, and Tuko Macho - a groundbreaking interactive crime web series widely considered to be one of the best African TV series. The Nest Collective also founded HEVA Fund - Africa's first creative business fund of its kind - to strengthen the livelihoods of East Africa's creative entrepreneurs.

Our House, your Home hybrid residency
Stroom invited The Nest Collective to join Our House, your Home in 2020. Due to the pandemic, our guests have not been able to travel to The Hague yet. Therefore we are experimenting with the format of a hybrid residency. We asked ourselves what is an artistic residency? What infrastructure can Stroom offer to its guests? How can we learn together and collaborate over a distance? How to engage our guests with the local creative community of The Hague? These questions are being exercised on a weekly basis.

Three artists from The Nest Collective - Jim Chuchu, Sunny Dolat and Njoki Ngumi - have been working from Nairobi since September 2020, researching textiles as a medium. They are addressing various facets of their medium: from textile making (weaving/printing techniques), to visual cultures, identity, history and performativity. Through this research, they also search for strategies to tackle issues of decolonization, sustainability and spirituality. Departing from the notion that Kenya does not present a textile tradition of its own (as opposed to West African countries), the artists have delved into finding contemporary approaches that speak to their public, with a focus on the queer community, and aiming to reach the local market with affordable prices.

The Nest artists share their research process by video calls and email. In these online meetings they also receive guests and meet different staff members of Stroom. The culmination of the project will be presented at Stroom between 10 May - 5 June 2021, with our guests sharing their process and outcomes from Nairobi. However we still depend on the public health measures to be able to plan their project in The Hague. Next steps include connecting The Nest to other artists, activists, human rights lawyers based in the Netherlands to exchange visions and practices with regards to human rights with a focus on the queer community; printing textile samples of their own patterns at House of U, Rotterdam, assessing technologies available in the Netherlands; among other potential manifestations of their project in The Netherlands. We hope to benefit from the mutual learning process.

Stroom has invited The Hague-based artist Ludmila Rodrigues to be the guest project leader.

This project is supported by Prins Claus Fund, Mondriaan Fund and the City of The Hague.

Our House, your Home
The Nest Collective is the fourth guest in Stroom Den Haag's experimental program Our House, your Home,  for which we invite international organizations to take over our exhibition space, to do the things they find most urgent, fitting, or challenging. Our three earlier guests were: Visual Culture Research Center from Kyiv (Ukraine) and left gallery, online platform based in Berlin (Germany) and Languid Hands from London (United Kingdom).

The Nest Collective
Not African Enough (book)
screenshot online meeting with Nikkie Wester
screenshot online meeting