East African Soul Train: Kovu Safarini

Co-produced by UK cultural producer, Poppy Spowage, E.A.S.T held workshops and discussions at Nairobi’s train museum and on a 24-hour train journey between Nairobi and Mombasa to the theme of “Kovu Safarini” which loosely translates to: scars on the journey. East Africa Arts supported the participation of fifteen East African creatives from Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

From the 2nd - 6th of February 2017 artists questioned their relationship to the historical baggage attached to the railway station and its infamous and historical line which has run from Nairobi to Mombasa (a coastal town in Eastern Kenya) since 1921.

Seven artists from Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda lead masterclasses in their disciplines (music, visual art, dance, fashion, literature) and took participants of the residency through a rigorous process of aesthetic inquiry and interdisciplinary collaboration. 

Over 50 artists attended the residency, which was curated by: Ghanaian Musician and Artistic Director Jojo Abot; Ugandan artist Mirembe Musisi; and Kenyan writer and curator Renee Mboya.

On arrival at their final destination - Distant Relatives Backpackers Eco-Lodge - in Kilifi the artists worked on and finalised their installations and performances.

E.A.S.T is set to return in 2018. To find out how you can participate in cultural events like these across Eastern Africa see our travel grants and mobility programmes here.

Take a look back at the E.A.S.T journey on their instagram handle @eastsoultrain