Eric Gitonga‘s photographic style possesses a storytelling quality that makes one feel like an avid spectator in the drama of an insect’s life.
The walls of the Muna Tree Cafe are currently inhabited by beetles, spiders, tree hoppers and other vijidudu you would never have noticed if it weren’t for Gitonga’s passionate documentation. Each of the 32 photos is a veritable portrait of a small creature roaming the Brackenhurst forest, shown at such close range that the textures of the milipede’s body and the iridescent colours of the fly’s eyes are revealed to us in wonderful nuance.
‘Dudus of Brackenhurst’ takes you on an epic journey rife with beauty and danger in equal measures. Looking at a shot of a spider wrapping up her prey in a mortal embrace, it isn’t clear at first who’s the predator and who’s the prey. They seem to form an inextricable pattern of pink and black membranes suspended in the air.
Guiding our group through the Brackenhurst exhibition, Eric Gitonga explains the patience and dedication it takes to capture wildlife with such vibrant detail. It is easy to imagine the photographer crouching on the ground in uncomfortable contorsions to catch a precious shot. But the more invisible work is that of adjusting one’s sense of observation to the forest, noticing the minute changes in colours, the movement on a leaf, the subtle fleeting of wings. It is very much an initiation to the environment during which the ‘dudus’ become as familiar as the weight of the camera on the photographer’s arm. This intense immersion in the natural environment forms part of the experience Gitonga’s photography invites us to share.
The exhibition closes on 14th June so it’s high time you planned your excursion to Limuru!
On until 14th June
Muna Tree Cafe, Brackenhurst, Limuru
[Accessible by public transport, with a pleasant walk from the gate. Good selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes. I recommend the pad thai.]