Being Only Great Of Finesse 09 May 2012 | By By Andrew Onyango
However, it is also because of them that we suffer multiple visual offenses in the name of fashion. But there is no denying that artists have an impact in this country. From the graffiti protests of parliamentary misconduct on the Nairobi CBD walls to the official sculptures of fallen heroes on Nairobi streets, artists are leaving their mark. But where are these people found? Well, if you do not have time to hunt them down in the cultural centers in the city then you can attend The BOGOF.
Being Only Great Of Finesse (BOGOF) is more than a single event. It is a cultural network of musicians, poets, visual artists and photographers. They get together at BOGOF events to interact, share ideas, poems, songs and generally socialize while doing what they do best. It is more of a youthful interaction so the chances of finding a stuffy middle aged couple criticizing a painfully simple painting are least likely. More like wall hangings, people sitting on the floor, photographs up on walls, live sketch artists, flamboyant fashion trends and very open poetry about subjects ranging from spousal abuse to losing virginity. In addition to this, there are live performances by young upcoming musicians and some known industry talents.
I was a newbie at the last BOGOF held at the Hilton Hotel Nairobi. Other than being reminded of my complete and total lack of social graces, I was impressed to find an entire room of people “like me”. Young creatives were on site and arguing everything from technique to inspiration. In fact, due to the ball room lighting situation most of the photographers were trading camera settings and twitter handles to get the best pictures thus furthering the networking angle.
Performances included amazing guitar solos, young singers, slam poetry from some unknowns and some well knowns like Asali Msanii. Even the event MC Anto (Anthony Mwangi) was nice enough to do two songs including one impromptu freestyle song about being in love and the popular Chips Funga. As an extra, patrons had the opportunity to have their portrait done by one of the multiple sketch artists available for a small fee. If I had to classify this event, I would call it a play date for young artists. They can get together, network and get to know each other while doing what they do best. In addition, it is an excellent opportunity for the creative industry to get to know the upcoming talents in order to secure them early.