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In the wake of the pandemic, Jua Kali Pedestrian Project has been forced to reflect on its meaning and relevance afresh now that life in public spaces, social co-existence and mobility took on new meanings. Social distancing and face masks are the new means to navigate public spaces. Fear and scare penetrated deeply into private and public spaces – blind trust has become impractical because the closest person could be the ultimate health danger as contact with city surfaces pose health risks. The Kenyan government (like many governments around the world) imposed civil surveillance to monitor movement patterns in public spaces. These measures in some ways, choreographed the social body, ordering pedestrians to observe physical distance between themselves. To an extreme they put an end to human presence from the public spaces in the times of the lockdowns.

During the pandemic, walking in public spaces gained significant social and artistic interest more than ever. In Jua Kali Pedestrian Project, Jared ONYANGO (the choreographer) is investigating movements in urban spaces and contacts city spaces have with pedestrians – their traces, stories and what it means to walk in public spaces during a health crisis. As such Jua Kali tries to capture, reflect and build on the multiple sensorial registers of places — smell, touch, taste, sound, texture and ephemerality – as a way of critically engaging with the intersections of time and substance through which those spaces contingently emerge and become.

I will work with two dancers Jackson Atulo and Jack Bryton to bring out the dance performance. It will be performed in Nairobi’s city spaces. The architectural design of Nairobi city makes it ideal for achieving rich experiences by comparing and contrasting movements within the city as a form of artistic analysis. 


This version forms part of the investigations that I am doing for the project which I hope to collaborate with Berlin-based dancer and choreographer; Lea Pischke next year. This phase of the project will still use the act of daily walking of both the citizens of Nairobi and Berlin as a case in point to focus on the individual perception of the two cities. Central themes in this project are: mobility, the impact of history on human behaviour and people’s appropriation of a cityscape..

Jared Onyango Headshot


Jared ONYANGO is a performer and choreographer based in Nairobi, Kenya.

He is attracted to walking and movements in public spaces. His current projects include an ongoing dance practice on body movements in investigating inter-related themes on urban city spaces, traces and historical actions.

His other works include Body In A Box, a multi-media project performed at the Goethe Institut Nairobi in 2018. Body In A Box is an ongoing research based practice exploring body movements inspired by stepping, walking and everyday movements in city spaces. Meanwhile Jaridu is a new solo dance exploring various concepts of movement, space, representation and musicality. Jared conceives and presents his work as contemporary dance and writing. He has interest in themes touching on de-colonial imaginaries, the African body as site of contestation, alternative forms of spectatorship and urban spaces

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