Cyrus Kabiru Biography

Cyrus Kabiru is a self-taught artist from Nairobi, Kenya, known for his multidisciplinary practice that blends fashion, sculpture and photography. Kabiru's artwork is made from recycled rubbish and brings focus to contemporary issues of consumerism and waste.

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He has exhibited widely at exhibitions and art fairs in countries including America, China, England, Italy, Spain and South Africa. Kabiru lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya.

Early Years

Kabiru was born in Kenya in 1984. One of six children, Kabiru grew up in a two-bedroom house next to a rubbish dump. During this time, his father shared stories with him about his own childhood. One anecdote recounted how his father accidently broke his pair of glasses as a young boy and was severely punished for it by his mother. Kabiru's father told him if he wanted to wear glasses, perhaps he should make his own.

Inspired by his father's story and the rubbish dump outside his home, Kabiru began to make eyewear from scrap like old bottle caps and broken cutlery. He started making glasses for his school friends, favouring his newfound artistic expression over homework and lessons.

In 2007, Kabiru left home and attended the Kuona Trust Arts Centre in Nairobi to pursue life as a self-taught artist. In the same year, Kabiru was awarded the Young Innovator Award by the Sandbox Network in London. In 2009, Kabiru had his first solo exhibition at the Rahimtulla Museum of Modern Art in Nairobi. His sculptures and paintings began to gain international exposure by the early to mid 2010s, when he was invited to host solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.

Cyrus Kabiru Artworks

Crossing between fashion, sculpture and photography, Kabiru became known for his ongoing series, begun in 2011, entitled C-Stunners.

Growing up by a rubbish dump stirred a curiosity in Kabiru, encouraging him to work with rubbish to create new meanings for old items. In this series of work, Kabiru assembles discarded objects like spoons, corks, screws and caps to create eccentric handmade spectacles. Kabiru documents C-Stunners by capturing powerful self-portraits of him modelling his upcycled glasses.

Kabiru's wearable sculptures highlight the transformative power of recycling and promote the artist's belief that scraps of waste can be moulded to create a solid foundation for creative artwork. C-Stunners observes humanity's consumerist impact on the environment and encourages a fresh perspective on the world we live in. Kabiru's artwork also captures the awareness and resourcefulness felt among the younger generation in Kenya.


Kabiru's artwork is included in the collections of prominent galleries including The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York and the M&C Saatchi Abel Collection.


Kabiru has exhibited work at several art fairs including 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London (2019); Paris Photo in Paris (2019); Investec Cape Town Art Fair in Cape Town (2018); The Armory Show in New York (2016); Artissima Fair in Turin (2016); and the Beaufort Triennial in West Flanders Province, Belgium (2015).


Cyrus Kabiru's Instagram can be found here (@ckabiru).

Phoebe Bradford | Ocula | 2022

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