The Nest: A DIY approach to storytelling

Kenyan arts collective The Nest makes impressive use of limited resources – from running a radio station out of their bathroom to making an award-winning film.

In this video we interview Sunny Dolat and Wangechi Ngugi of The Nest, a collective of filmmakers, writers, artists and designers in Nairobi. Dolat is a fashion stylist and creative director for The Nest’s fashion films, produced under its Chico Leco programme. Ngugi is the producer behind the collective’s breakout feature The Stories of Our Lives and fashion films such as To Catch a Dream

The Nest, says Dolat, plays a vital role in Nairobi’s creative scene because it provides a space for critical conversation and, as Ngugi puts it, “things that are seen as a taboo to talk about”.

Defying the current climate of discrimination and homophobia in Kenya, Stories of Our Lives dramatises true accounts of gay experience in the country. “The depiction of the Kenyan queer community in a sense didn’t exist before the film,” says Dolat.

The film was shot using a single Canon DSLR video camera, with virtually everyone at The Nest pitching in to help and learning on the job.

The collective describes their approach to story telling as do-it-yourself: “We’ve always had a DIY approach to things,” says Dolat. “For a little while we ran a radio station out of our bathroom,”

Stories of Our Lives, which screened at Design Indaba Film Festival 2015, remains banned in Kenya, despite picking up acclaim and awards abroad.

The Nest presented its work along with four other African creative collectives in the Africa Is Now exhibition at Design Indaba Expo 2015.