By Prudence Minayo
Wambui Kamiru Collymore is the founder of Art Space, an online art gallery. She was born and raised in Kenya and is a mother as well as a successful entrepreneur. Wambui came into the limelight in Kenya after her marriage to the late Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore.
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Wambui was born in 1982.
The Art Space founder is an alumni of Loreto Convent Msongari.
She got her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
In July 2008, she got her Masters Degree in African Studies from Oxford University
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Wambui is the founder of Art Space, an online art gallery which opened its doors to the public in 2015. The organisation allows for growth and critique in the visual arts through art exhibitions and informal conversations. The Art Space focuses on contemporary African art and links artists with the contemporary art market locally and internationally. They also offer art advisory services for new collectors and assist current collectors to curate and catalogue their existing collections.
In 2013, she held an experiential installation on Pan Africanism “Harambee63” at Kuona trust, Nairobi. It was also shown at the University of Wits in South Africa in 2014 and at Kenya National Museum in 2015.
Also Read: Bob Collymore Talks About Death, Divorce And His Stay In Hospital
In 2015, she conducted an exhibition at Kuona Trust Center themed “Your Name Betrays You.” The entire art work was to explore the origin of ethnicity and the invention of tradition. She created an entire room, painted it white and black and welcomed art lovers who expressed their commonly held stereotypes and how they affected their relations with people from different ethnic groups. The main purpose of the exhibition was to show that missionaries and colonialists grouped Africans purposefully to drive a certain agenda. It sought to discover stereotypes held by people about different ethnic groups.
“ I want us to talk about the stereotypes we hold about each other. Why do we say’ ruka kama Maasai (jump like a Maasai).’ I want us to understand where all these perceptions that we hold about each other, came from,” Wambui said.
Together with artist Xavier Verhoest, she worked on a national public art project/ installation, “Who I Am. Who We Are.” The project is about the Kenyan identity and ideas of nationalism, present and future.
In 2007, she married Joseph Kinyua and the two had twin girls. Wambui filed for divorce citing domestic violence while he did the same citing infidelity. The two went their separate ways with Wambui getting custody of the daughters.
Collymore met her wife to be when they both attended a fundraiser for survivors of the Loreto Convent Msongari school bus crash in 2011. They tied the knot in an invite only ceremony in April 2016 which was attended by some of the top CEOs in the country.
In 2018, Bob was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer that forced him to seek treatment abroad and he said that his wife was very supportive during the time.
On 19th July 2019, the iconic CEO Bob Collymore passed away after a long struggle with cancer. During the funeral, Wambui thanked the many people who sent their condolences to her.
Asked by Businessdaily writer Jackson Biko about Bob Collymore mood before he died, she replied:
He was waiting. That’s the sense I got. (Pause) When we found out that he only had four to six weeks to live we got down to figuring out what he needed to do so that he would have a peaceful death.
I think it’s very important to prepare for death. So one of the things he wanted to do was to see his daughter, Sarah, who lives in the UK, and to see his mother. Unfortunately his mother couldn’t travel, but his daughter did.
He also wanted the menu to be changed, he wanted to eat a particular Indian curry that I made that he quite liked. We ate that for the next four weeks. He was also very clear he wanted to spend more time with the people who were close to him; his immediate family and some very close friends. And then he set about clearing his desk.
His desk was neat but never as neat as I found it after he died; the mouse, the keyboard, all arranged neatly.
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