In the heart of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, alongside seemingly abandoned train carriages and overgrown tracks is a blossoming artists’ community.
Just metres from a busy road, but screened by tall trees and long grass, it is hidden in plain sight. This has been home to the Bombsquad, or BSQ, Crew for just over a year.
The graffitied train carriages belong to Nairobi’s railway museum and it feels as if they were parked behind its main exhibition hall decades ago.
The management agreed to rent a carriage to BSQ’s three original members last year, who turned it into a studio. But as the group has grown to include 15 artists, the work has spilled into the adjoining yard.
In every corner and on every surface, a discarded board, a sculpture or installation is propped up, or stuck down or painted on.
There, on any given day, with music blaring from the small radio, artists are standing and sitting at easels or squatting over a canvas, peering closely at their work.
Twenty-six-year-old Brian Muasasia Wanyande, known by his artistic name Msale, is one of BSQ’s trio of founders. He combines his love of calligraphy and fine art to produce abstract murals, tattoo designs, stickers and T-shirts.
He also does portraits and as he delicately paints one on the side of a discarded spray can, he speaks about his bold vision for BSQ.
“It’s already a movement. For me, five to seven years from now, I’m looking at BSQ as defining the street art culture in Kenya and art in general,” he says.