Reuben Musyimi

Location: Malindi
Fifty-seven-year-old, Reuben Musyimi, is a Kenyan painter with immense talent and experience developed over decades. For the father of three, painting has taken a better part of his life. His interest in painting started when he was 9 years old using chewed up sticks as brushes and by the age of 16, he realized that he could draw really well. A self-taught artist, he slowly gained popularity and he was nicknamed “Master” because of his prowess with a brush, canvas and oil paints. His painting business has been good over the years that he had been able to put all his children through school. Tourism on the Kenyan coast plays a very important role for artists in the region. The business is purely dependent on tourism. With dwindling tourism, sales have plummeted over the years. Crafts With Meaning has collaborated with Reuben to promote his sales through Crafts With Meaning e-commerce platform by providing access to information, market and comply with buyers’ requirements. Crafts With Meaning advise on creative innovations, fair working practices, value addition, quality management, presentation and handle logistics to ensure timely delivery of the paintings to the buyers. Based in Malindi, Reuben’s paintings depict ordinary African rural life, traditions, characters and landscapes. He is best known for paintings themed Katingilitingili, a Kamba tradition dance. The story goes that when a man is interested in a girl and want to take her as a wife, he and his friends kidnap the girl and lock her in his house. Both the man and the girl’s friends congregate to celebrate this action in music and dance. The dance is one of the most spectacular manifestations of Kamba culture in Kenya. It is characterized by some exceptional leaping, flinging of dancers in the air and acrobatics of other kinds.