James Kiamani

Borano Arts an inspiring group of young men lead by the fabulous James Kiamani. They make the cutest ever glass beaded safari animals and a variety of wire toys – Nairobi’s version of our Matchbox cars – every young Kenyan boy has a wire truck, tractor or motorbike and usually they have made it themselves.

James, was taught the art of manipulating wire by his older brother when he was very young. He saw a potential and started selling his products at a local market. Soon after he was in the position where he was able to employ and teach his trade. The group have been slowly growing ever since!

Integration – yep

Although Barano Arts is James’ brainchild, he does not own the business. He believes that ever man should have the feeling of working for himself. Barano Arts work as a group, or co-operative (in an in-formal sense). Each member specialising in a particular toy and is paid for what they make. The group pay James a certain percentage of their sales for being the business and marketing man.  They are like a little group of soldier ants working happily together as an integrated team. Solidarity and individual success, all at the same time. The products they make are amazing, however I can’t help but be more impressed with the men behind them.

The workshop is a small space on the fringe of Dandora, a colourful area on the outskirts of Nairobi. The group now have fifteen artists in the workshop.  Putting their efforts into this creative outlet and business has given them a ‘positive focus and way to earn a living’ they say. James is very proud that he and the business he has created, provides such positivity and broader options for the guys he works with. A seriously cool group of men!