Nairobi Fat Cap had their very first extended reality (XR) graffiti showcase on the 10th of June 2022 at Baraza Media Lab, Nairobi. According to a LinkedIn post by Walid Kilonzi, the founder of Fallohide Studios, the event was a great success. Walid had the following to say,”  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! This is an appreciation post for every single person who made Nairobi Fat Cap a great success. The artists, the team, partners and the attendees, you made this happen! Experiencing graffiti in Extended Reality, sparking conversion about social action, and creating a larger space for Extended Reality was absolutely magical!”

Nairobi Fat Cap is a Fallohide initiative aimed at training artists to make graffiti virtual reality art with social concern themes of their choosing. The 2022 cohort created graffiti under four social action themes: environment, peace, mental health and justice. The initiative aims to bring together artists who have never touched virtual reality (VR) before and guide them through making XR graffiti pieces within a months time. Nairobi Fat Cap is supposed to be loud and expressive just the way graffiti demands to be seen and to be heard.

Fun fact: The name Nairobi Fat Cap was inspired by the New York Fat Cap or “NY Fat” which is THE classic spray paint cap. It is a wide outline cap with an average spray width from ca. 4 – 6cm (1,5” to 2,4”). Perfect for fast works and juicy lines. The spray width changes with the used distance to the object. So the Fallohide team thought of having something similar, instead of New York Fat Cap, they decided on  Nairobi Fat Cap.

Fallohide Studios is an XR creative studio that creates corporate XR solutions and immersive narratives. They are passionate about artists and the work they do so they decided to start an initiative called Craft Reality where they bring artists from various art forms into XR. They aim to help them share their narratives in a way that transcends the physical and normal digital spaces into the metaverse. They are very passionate about this because it is important that African voices are heard in the Metaverse. They aim to empower artists with creative sustainable business practices and skills on how to use XR tools to prepare them for local and international opportunities in the creative economy and beyond.

Fallohide Studios started the Nairobi Fat Cap initiative in partnership with Jenge Kulture, Baraza Media Lab and Artivive. Jenge Kulture is a Pan African social change initiative that promotes a culture that translates social concern into creative, innovative action across the continent.

Fladwel Rawinji the Founder of Jenge Kulture had the following to say, “ At Jenge Kulture we’re trying to achieve two kinds of impact, one is that we want to increase the level of civic engagement among young people in Kenya and across the continent. So how many more young people particularly creatives and innovators can get involved in social action? The social action we are talking about here is the whole spectrum if you consider the sustainable development goals (SDGs)  from food security to environment and climate action to humanitarian action, governance, justice, human rights etc. All these are the challenges we face within the continent of Africa and of course here in Kenya locally. The question is how can young people especially creators and innovators come up with innovative and creative ideas to respond to those challenges?”

The artists showcasing their graffiti were Cynthia Jerono, Conrad Kelemba, Maria Gikuru and Kelvin Malombe. Cynthia Jerono said, “ As someone who has never used VR before, I’m grateful to Nairobi Fat Cap because it helped me access a VR headset without costs and other barriers. I think Nairobi Fat Cap will be important to artists because it will give them hope that they too can be part of the VR community.” Maria Gikuru added,” Nairobi Fat Cap is very beneficial, especially in the coming age and the new era. It’s important for most of us as artists to learn how to bring our crafts into the digital space. To be able to spread it further to more people. So I think learning how to use VR and AR is an advancement or an upgrade to what’s to come in the future.”

In conclusion, Kelvin Malombe said, “Graffiti is a form of protest for most, it is also a form of beautification. I’d love people to have the opportunity to express themselves in VR a bit more. The cans don’t run out so there’s no cost implication to it. So everyone should have a chance to experience, create and share their message. I think that for me is the most significant thing about Nairobi Fat Cap.”