Nude art: Are there any social and moral dilemmas

I live in a society that seems to me to be over zealous in fighting what pastors and police think are crimes against our sensibilities. If the police are not busy arresting ladies of the night they will be found arresting  young men smoking marijuana,  revelers at strip clubs while people are being violently robbed in the streets or in homes and a response time running into several hours.

In one of our dailies, a priest is quoted as saying this of nude art

It is intolerable according to the church’s principles and goes against the founding morals that guide our behaviours,

and continues to say

A wrong is a wrong, no matter what, how, when and who does it. Nakedness is sinful in itself and there is no two ways about it. The Bible says our bodies are temples of the Lord and there is time for everything.

Such claims by religious people irk me. For one, the priest doesn’t tell us when stories of Hebrew herdsmen became African and two not so long ago our fathers went in bare clothing that covered only essentials while children and young adolescents roamed with their goods for all the world to see. I find this the height of hypocrisy to claim that nudity is wrong because the bible says so!

I think the priest and those who support his cause should read this post and reflect about it as they do bible stories before they can comment. And while at it, I would want to know how many of them are born clothed and shower in their clothes.

And for good measure

David

Photograph by Eivydas

 

Nietzsche on architects

The architect by shaping the existential space, modifies the environment in such a way that if gods existed, they would come every so often to consult with us on how we do it, assuming the gods are not omniscient. My lecturers told us so many times that the architect is the leader in the field, that one must have a solution to almost any problem to a point where ones this sinks in, one becomes so to speak on an equal footing with god.

The architect, unlike the physician cannot bury his mistakes. One can only hope for a natural disaster to erase his mistake or a government demolition project. Every architect tries to produce, what to him[her]self is a masterpiece, how many are successful in this endeavor is up to discussion.

The quote below by Nietzsche, can be applied to one of the great American architects, Louis Khan. I find his Exeter Library[ geometrical shapes], Dr. Salk Institute[ lighting], The Kimbell Art Museum[ for how he uses both natural and artificial light] and The Parliament in Dhaka[ space planning, geometry] to be truly beautiful. Having said that, I know appreciation of beauty[whatever that is] is very subjective but I encourage my friends to have a look at the above mentioned buildings.

The architect represents neither a Dionysian, nor an Apollonian state: here it is the great act of will, the will that moves mountains, the frenzy of the great will which aspires to art. The most powerful human beings have always inspired architects; the architect has always been under the spell of power. His buildings are supposed to render pride visible, the victory over gravity, the will to power. Architecture is a kind of eloquence of power in forms – now persuading, even flattering, now only commanding. The highest feeling of power and sureness finds expression in a grand style. The power which no longer needs any proof, which spurns pleasing, which does not answer lightly, which feels no witness near, which lives oblivious of all opposition to it, which reposes within itself, fatalistically, a law among laws- that speaks of itself as a grand style.

My vision for Nairobi Metropolis

This is an open letter to the Governor of Nairobi, Dr Evans Kidero.

1. Building approvals

Dr. Kidero, as the governor of Nairobi County, I guess you are the boss of everyone at City Hall. There is a department that deals with development control. The first thing you ought to do is to disband it as currently constituted since it is inefficient. The new team should comprise architects and a new rule should be introduced that for every development that approval is being sought, the architect must make a presentation to the new team and knowing architects, no building will be approved and this will go along way in ridding the city of ugly buildings.

2. City council askaris [guards]

Please for the sake of all of us and for love of the city have all these guys fired. This is the one group of people second only to prison warders who have decided their brains are to be used as a shelter for rain and not for thinking. In the place of the current lot, employ university graduates in sociology, anthropology and music and train them in security and PR,  and maybe just maybe the face of CCN security apparatus may change. I am hoping university graduates are able to reason though I can’t say this of all them.

3. Revenue

The first thing you ought to do is to form Nairobi Revenue Authority and give them a mandate to collect taxes from anything that makes money and churches will be a good place to start. Forget about 24 hour economy, we are doing alright with 18 hours economy, the thing to do is to convince the MPs within the county to mobilize their fellows to repeal Muthutho Law, that way we will drink till morning and improve the economy. Related to this please do write a letter in your capacity as governor to EABL to reduce the cost of beer, this will go along way in making the economy grow.

4. Public transport

I don’t like the 14 seater contraptions we have on the roads. They are a nuisance and fill our roads leading to endless traffic. Encourage the city to invest in mass transit buses, have a central control and ensure the parking fees in town are so high to discourage people from using personal cars in the city. They pollute the air and cause traffic jams, I know you have seen this from your corner office.

5. Slums 

I know there must be a statute that allows the government to forcefully posses any land for the public good. Ensure that for every development approved in the upmarket areas, the developer must build a block of flats in the slums. This way we will eliminate slums and at the same time improve the housing conditions in Nairobi.

6. Unemployment

You don’t want your county to be ranked as one with the highest unemployment record in the country. To this end, have a team do a door to door inspection of residential areas. Those who are unemployed should be deported to their counties, that way they will not put a strain on the limited resources we have in Nairobi and you will have a good name.

7. Bhang and CSW

You should make Nairobi the bhangi capital of East Africa. By doing this we will attract revenue as there will be people coming from all over to visit our marijuana shops and they will sleep in our hotels, buy from our shops and this will contribute to the revenue of the county. In line with this, Koinange Street should be a fully fledged redlight district. The pastors will make noise but ignore them, they have more sex than anyone else. By doing this you will contribute to the Nairobi economy since as you well know, the services of CSWs are sought by the high and mighty as well as the low.

8. Flag and security detail

Please join the other governors in demanding to fly the flag, have a standard and outriders. This way there will be no difference between governor and president and in future we will not need presidents. The governors will elect one of their own to rule for a year on a rotating basis and this way no one will rig and then we can remove that clause in the constitution concerning presidential petitions. I say this because I have no trust at all at the courts to make any sensible ruling on anything and I hope me and you share this feeling.

9. Prisons

The prisons in Nairobi are overpopulated by petty offenders and I don’t think you desire this. Now you can write to the illegitimate president that we have and ask him to release all the petty offenders. They can be involved in community work or be let to go free. The only people who should remain are those who need to be monitored closely such as serial rapists, murderers and such who pose a risk to themselves and the society at large. When doing this ensure the prison warders are employed from the best of the society, people who can help in the rehabilitation of criminals not those who will make them turn out worse than they already are.

10. Housing

I don’t like the current housing costs. I can’t work just to pay rent. Use your powers to ensure the supply of good housing beats the demand for the same. This way rent will go down and I can live closer to work and drink more of my money.

I will add to this list when I can think of something else to add.

Buildings I like

Taj Mahal, a symbol of love. A perfect symmetry from any side. A master piece. It took I think 25 years to build.

Today I want to share some architectural masterpieces from several periods with you. You may not like my choices but I think they are great buildings and for each I give a reason why.

The Colosseum at Rome. One of the stadiums designed with safety in mind. The stadium could be evacuated in so short a time you can’t believe it.

The Parthenon in Athens

 

Parliament at Dhaka by Louis Isidore Khan one of America’s greatest architects. I love the planning, the lighting and the siting of the building. It is truly a national monument.

Pyramid at Giza. You cannot get anywhere today any perfect pyramid as these great pyramids in Egypt.

Antonio Gaudi’s Casa Mila. A sculptor of a building