The Kenyan art collective, BSQ (Bomb Squad) – an in demand, “blossoming” community of artists, as reported by the BBC – are making headlines again. Based out of the Nairobi Railway Museum, the crew launched their studio space in April 2018, when they moved into a train carriage studio behind international artist, Patrick Mukabi’s Dust Depo studio; both attached to the museum.
Since then, the area of carriages covered in colourful works has become somewhat of an image of the future for Kenya’s art scene with first and second generations of national artists gathered side by side, as it is said that the history of Kenya is closely tied to the railroads.
The three founders of BSQ, Brian Muasasia (Msale), Ochieng Kenneth Otieno (Kaymist4) and Bebeto Ochieng (Thufu-B) started out in 2011, though the BSQ has since grown in numbers and ambition and has established an impressive list of accomplishments.
In 2016 BSQ painted a mural on canvas at the European Union HQ in Brussels, as part of the European Development Days Festival where they rubbed shoulders with Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
In 2018 the crew held their first major exhibition at the Nairobi National Museum, where they executed a live mural portraying how technology has positively and negatively affected our culture, and proved to the Kenyan public that graffiti is not just vandalism, but can be used to express and address societal issues.
In February this year, BSQ featured murals on four walls in Adelaide, Australia including a piece for the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia. While, back at home, the members of BSQ are now mentoring names to look out for, including David Muchiri (Wes), Alex Mwangi (Lion’s Art), Ebruh Ndungu and Allan Kioko (Think).
“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,” Msale told the BBC. Kaymist4 added that, “We didn’t know it would be like this. It’s grown and it surprises us every day, because it keeps growing every day.”