Clinton Kirkpatrick is in Kenya for the fourth time. He is collecting stories from Kenyan people and these stories can be any story that the person wants to tell. With no brief given, about what story to tell, it allows the person to relay a story that comes from directly from them and their own way of thinking. What should the story be? Is it a funny story or is it a personal story? What Clinton is finding is very interesting.
So far there have been stories about big feet, African Killer Bee farms, witch doctors, animals, sick grandmothers, bus crashes, abusive parents, giants, artistic lives, growing up and mango trees to name but a few. Each story, from each individual, has been remarkably different and, for Clinton, it has been exciting to watch them unfold.
Upon return to Northern Ireland Clinton will begin to transcribe the stories where he will then begin to create either a single visual artwork or a small sequence of works about each story. Interestingly, Clinton is visualising work as he is being told each story. There are moments that surprise, or excite, or there is a line of a story given that resonates within him and this will be the foundation for the work created. So far there have been 38 stories collected from a wide range of people, both children and adults, and no story that is repeated. There is only one story, to date, that Clinton visualises as a sequence of artworks. That story was, somewhat, an emotional rollercoaster.
With half of the month of September in Kenya behind him, Clinton is currently in Naivasha. This is the place where he has spent extended periods of time on previous visits. For Clinton it remains a beautiful place and a place where many of his friends live; reconnecting with people is as important as collecting the stories.
Time is of the essence in Kenya. One month is a short time to complete the research for future work. Clinton is hoping to collect no less than 60 stories and a decision that has been made whilst in Kenya this year, is that an artwork will be made for each and every story told. Hopefully there will be a chance to bring the work back for exhibition, in 2018, to Nairobi.
After Naivasha, Clinton will go to Kisumu and Kakamega before making his way back to Nairobi where he will spend one more week connecting and collecting from Kenyan people. He leaves for and returns home to Northern Ireland on the 1st October 2016.