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Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muriuki

Image: Pata Picha Studio Photograph, 2012. One of a series of portraits taken in Kilifi, Kenya. By Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muriuki.

Miriam and James are multimedia artists based in Nairobi. Much of Miriam’s work interrogates and questions notions of perception and memory, while James is drawn to exploring transitions in the social landscape. They are both interested in understanding the connections between personal and communal histories.

While in residence, Miriam and James worked in collaboration to investigate how health researchers and the involved community depend on and perceive one another. What happens when different values, ethics and belief systems come into contact? Can these differences be negotiated?

One of the outcomes of their residency was the Pata Picha Photo Studio. ‘Pata Picha’ means ‘get the picture’ in Swahili. People in Kilifi town were invited to have their portraits taken alongside various props. These props were chosen for their connection with major themes identified as influencing research: education, beliefs, context, exploration, money and power.


Research centre: KEMRI–Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya

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