In the months leading up to the 2013 presidential election in Kenya, international mural artist and educator Joel Bergner partnered with the local youth organization Kibera Hamlets to organize the ‘Kibera Walls for Peace’ project. Bergner and local educators led a series of peace-building workshops with youth in the Kibera Slum community, culminating in the design and painting of 6 public murals in the slum that advocated for peace during the tense election season. Filmmaker Willie Owusu filmed the project and made a documentary about the Kibera youth striving to uplift their community.
The Kibera Walls for Peace, a public art project of the youth, aimed to encourage unity and cooperation between ethnic and political groups ahead of Kenya’s presidential election in March, 2013. Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums, was strongly affected by the violence and political turmoil that engulfed Kenya after the 2007 election, and preventing a repeat of this crisis was the main objective.
As part of Kibera Walls for Peace, the Kibera youth participants collaborated with Nairobi graffiti artists to paint artistic messages of peace on all 10 cars of the Rift Valley Railways train that passes by many areas of Nairobi every day, including Kibera. International and local media covered the Peace Train project, leading to millions of people worldwide learning about the project.
Kibera Walls for Peace closed with an inaugural event at the Kamukunji Ground in Kibera. The youth participants presented dance, music, poetry, theatre and acrobatic performances that explored the theme of peace during this election season. The event also included performances by local musical artists, speakers and a video presentation of the project.