Kenyan artist creates eccentric eyeglasses from electronic waste

Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru uses electronic refuse and found metal to create dazzling pairs of sculptural eyewear.

Cyrus Kabiru is a self-taught painter and sculptor living in Nairobi, Kenya. His sculptural work epitomises his role as a “collector” of Nairobi’s cast offs, which he refashions into various forms. He is perhaps best known for his playful collection, C-STUNNERS, an on going work in which Karibu creates and wears artistic glasses made from electronic waste.

“I really love trash,” Kabiru says. “I try to give trash a second chance.”

His junkyard eyewear sits between fashion, wearable art and performance. The ingenuity used to create each frame conveys something of human resourcefulness. Kabiru’s passion for eyewear began when he was a boy coveting other peoples eye wear. “When I was young, I used to admire real glasses but my dad was a bit harsh and he never wanted me to have real glasses.”

Now, Kabiru has all the strange and wonderful glasses his younger self-could have hoped for. He names each piece in the collection humorously – a piece he made from a salvaged motherboard is called “The Fatherboard” and another piece made from a set of speakers is called “Big Mouth”.

If you have any stress,” Kabiru says. “They [the glasses] are like therapy.”

With the same humour as his glasses, Kabiru’s paintings are entertaining portrayals of contemporary life in Kenya, which he paints from the position of the observer.