Ciro Githunguri is also known as ‘Machokali’ in photography circles. Under her talent, company Mystic Breed has worked tirelessly behind the scenes with some of the greatest artists and musicians in the region designing their album sleeves, event posters, and personal branding. Machokali is an artist with the conviction that it is our responsibility as Africans to shape our future by understanding our past; inquiring and documenting our findings. What better way to archive than with powerful images as concrete evidence of what our cultural practices are/were.
‘Macho’ in Kiswahili means eye. ‘Kali’ means keen – Keen eyes. The artsy, 49 year old, mother of six, has been clicking away from a tender age. Ever since she embarked on a beginner’s photography course to turn her hobby into a professional avenue, she has used this visual art form to bring back awareness of a great Alkebulan continent, seemingly unaware of its own magnificence and power.
Machokali enjoys traveling around the continent and its neighboring environs, inquiring through the lens and interacting with the indigenous people of that geographical area.
Through the lens I capture everyday people, going about their everyday business. This to me depicts a true and honest picture of Africa; positive, hard working, loving, nurturing, and diverse. I long to be that bridge that takes the soul and heartbeat of this continent into colors, depth, and tones that reflect the same in visual art forms such as Photography, Graphics, and Jewelry Design. My innate fascination of Africa can only truly bring out the best of its people and its heritage. For me this is a personal journey to discover my roots by investigating my own society, our interactions as a people within our environs, and amongst other inhabitants such as fauna and flora, as well as the intimate play of space with buildings and other structures. For our own progression as Africans we must remember to celebrate ourselves. This is my opportunity, my small tribute and my action in activism.
Activist Photographer: AWID INTERNATIONAL FORUM (2016 Bahia Brazil) an event that brings together around 2000 feminists, community leaders, social justice activists, and donor agencies from around the world.
Artivist: 2018 Noirlinians Artivist Exchange (New Orleans, LA). Machokali participated in a 2-week art exchange whose focus was to work on a Pan African collaborative piece with other New Orleans artists. Community work: UAACC (United African Alliance Community Centre) 2006. Participated in a 3-month residency in Imbaseni Village, Maji Chai, Arusha; as a Graphics Design volunteer teacher at UAACC., which is an ingenious creation of former Black Panther activists. UAACC provides programs and projects for the enrichment of the Arusha community.
Graphic designer, freelancer, university lecturer. Works on various projects related to Graphic Design, starting from logos to publishing and to web pages. Creative work concentrates mainly on posters. Designing self-edition posters, she relates to events in her private life and to the headline issues. Creativity spreads also to designing posters advertising cultural events. An active participant of Polish and international poster exhibition. Establisher and organiser of Overview of Self-Edition Poster, Roller Poster. Wrote a column in “Beautiful pages” in “Przekrój”, the quarterly magazine. Awarded as many as five scholarships by the Mayor of Szczecin, in the years: 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Received an award from the Marshal of West Pomerania for “The Best Diploma” in the field of Graphic Design in the 2004/2005 academic year. Diploma work was qualified to “The Best Designing Diplomas” exhibition in Silesian Castle of Art and Enterprise, which was organised within the national competition for Polish art graduates in the field of designing (2006). First-prize winner for logo jubilee competition of the city of Piła (2010).Associate Professor at Szczecin Academy of Art where she runs Publishing and Digital Designing Studio in the Faculty of Visual Art.