Dickens Otieno is a 33-year-old Kenyan artist (sculptor and painter) at The GoDown Art Center. He currently works in recycled material majorly light beer or soft drink cans (foils) which he shreds and weaves through coffee wire into big fabrics which he uses in making dress sculptures. Finding meaning in things that seem otherwise useless is what interests him the most and this coupled by the push to keep our planet green has influenced him to create his works by recycling used materials.
Cans are most suitable for his sculptures for their lightweight and ability to fold easily. They are also readily available in many colors. This became a source of inspiration to him as he was walking and came across an empty can one day after struggling to do the same with bottle tops which wasn’t giving him desirable results.
His work has also contributed to environmental cleanliness and waste resource management which has attracted local media such as KBC through the program vijana in action, KTN’s bongo la biashara amongst others to inspire viewers across the country. Otieno has participated in various exhibitions among them manjano where he was awarded with a 1st runners up prize in 2011, an exhibition in support of KCCL (Kenya Community Centre for Learning), a village public art competition where he won a first five prize 2012, a charitable exhibition to raise funds for hunger stricken northern Kenya by the village market in 2012, an evening with art by the little art gallery etc.
Dickens Otieno’s weaving technique has also led to his participation in a workshop Bamcraft organized by KEFRI and UNIDO aimed at designing and developing new bamboo products to help internally displaced persons from Mau forest sustain their living. In 2013 Otieno went for a residency at Nafasi Art Space in Tanzania for an art exchange Program between Nafasi Art Space and Kuona Trust. He has a few pieces in private collection and some in art galleries such as One-Off Art Gallery, Little Art Gallery and The GoDown Art Center where he works from.
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