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Biko Wesa, Kilifi based photographer researched with Witek Orski the production of palm wine (Mnazi), a spirit very popular in the local culture. Photographs were exhibited in a public space of Seahorse Village on a wooden construction. Next to the display artists arranged a semi-official Mnazi bar.

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A photography installation and a Mangwe – a grassroot palm wine bar created by artists: Biko Wesa & Witek Orski.
Mnazi is a swahili name for both the coconut palm tree and  the wine produced from it. Mnazi as a palm tree is an economic pillar for almost every common household in the Kenyan coast.
The palm wine is an important part of tradition for the Mijikenda people – the nine tribes native to the coastal region of Kenya. A tradition that is being diminished and erased in the mainstream modernisation narrative.
While commercial coconut trade possesses a serious threat to the global ecosystem, Kilifi palm trees are an indigenous part of the socio-economic landscape for the coastal inhabitants.
Acting as a source of food, medicine, cosmetics, building materials, brooms, artisanal products and alcohol among other uses.

People:  Witek Orski , Biko Wesa

Biko Wesa

(b.1992) is a Kenyan photographer currently working in Kilifi, Kenya. Mainly focusing on cultural heritage, he strives to tell the stories of a people, their culture, and history, playing a part in preservation through photography. He owes his photography knowledge to the various workshops he has attended such as the World Press Photo Masterclass, Photographer’s Master Class by Goethe-Institut Johannesburg & Simon Njami, New York Times Portfolio Review, Canon Miraisha Program, and many more. His work has been exhibited in Kenya’s National Museum, University of Liverpool – UK, The Museum of Drug Policy – New York, USA, Photoville – New York, USA, Lumix Festival – Hannover, Germany, International Photo Festival – Leiden, Holland among others. He has been commissioned by various publications and organisations such as Wired Japan , Axis Japan , and World Vision International . He is currently working on a long-term project; Rabai, researching his family’s history and the history of Christianisation in East Africa focusing on the first church edifice that was built in 1846 by the missionaries welcomed to Rabai, his native land, by their community elders.

Witek Orski

b. 1985, Warsaw
Visual artist, theoretician of photography. A philosophy graduate of the University of Warsaw, he creates photos, photographic installations, and video works. He refers to his practice as post-conceptual photography. He studies the relations between images, and is interested in the social functions of photography and its status in the field of art. The medium of the exhibition itself is also an essential tool for Orski. He arranges series of works into visual essays in which the reception of each item is meticulously designed.

He is a doctoral student in the Intermedia Department at the University of the Arts Poznań and a lecturer at the Szczecin Art Academy. He lives and works in Warsaw.

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