Artists in Nairobi through the Association of Growing Artists (AOGA) declared that they will champion social change through their creative works.
Musicians, poets, film makers, graffiti artists and creative writers who attended a social change forum at PAWA 254 were enlightened on what social change is about and its contribution to society. “Don’t change because other people want you to do it”, asserted Poet Teardrops who was a speaker at the forum.
The artists, especially musicians felt that traditional media does not give them airplay, which affects their growth. But Sam Soko, a film maker specializing in social change films challenged them to be consistent in what they do and also explore other avenues like social media, in order to get their works to the public.
“Make your 1 per cent count”, remarked Teardrops. He added that the artists should decide the brand they need to be identified with and also decline opportunities to perform at events that are not aligned to their belief. “If you call me to a club to perform, I will not do it because that is not my kind of audience”, he asserted.
The poet was clear that in time, the media will be looking for them because their content will start being recognized.
On the question of how artists can survive doing social change work, Soko advised that it is important to create a balance in what they are doing. “You must build who you grow”, he said.
Mariga Wang’ombe reminded the artists how the song Nchi ya Kitu Kidogo by Eric Wainaina was first banned in Kenya, before it was later embraced as a worthy song to create conversations on corruption. Wainaina also sang Daima mimi ni Mkenya, that has been touted the second national anthem.
“The way we do things is different. It is slow, takes time sometimes for art to pervade and persuade the people. You should know that change is a process”, he remarked.