Sunde chose the Kwale Region along the Pangani Coast in Kenya as the African location for the series because the area is known for its historic landmarks, a melting pot of vibrant cultures, and a point of entry into Africa for the rest of the world. Coastal areas will face extreme flooding, and excess salt in the soil is predicted to make water non-potable and agriculture extremely challenging.
Due to this, Kenya is working to develop a sustainable economy. If the population is aware of the challenges sea-level rise will bring, there is hope for successful adaptation and mitigation. 36.5 aimed to connect the Kenyan people to these issues, while raising global awareness about Kenya’s climate change challenge. Many climate journalists in Mombasa responded to the work, providing this iteration of the artwork with a great deal of press coverage that supported Sunde’s mission of engaging the public around their relationship with water and increasing awareness of sea level rise.
The durational video work created in Kenya, 36.5 / Bodo Inlet, was screened in the Bodo Community and shown as a large-scale outdoor public exhibition on the walls of Fort Jesus in Mombasa on Saturday 16th November 2019 from 6pm – midnight. Additional exhibition screening happened in Nairobi at the Cheche Gallery, Kenya Cultural Center and the Fort Jesus Museum showed a variety of previous 36.5 video works in the screening room during opening hours from November 1st – 16th, 2019.
“Never before has there been any event of such magnitude in Bodo! The community continues to recall the event each day…This incredible project has changed our mindsets and perceptions for the better. It ignited a dying passion for environmental conservation within the community and the county government.” – Wakili Mwatondo, Artist Collaborator and Community Mobilizer, Kwale Arts, Kenya
“This activity being undertaken by Sarah is vital…I have learned there is a possibility that the sea may rise above normal levels and bring about floods and hurricanes. Sarah is making us aware of the global challenge and I have gained a lot from her. Bodo villagers should critically analyze and understand this message from Sarah.”
– Bwana Ali Mchambi, Bodo Village Elder and Chairman of the Waterfront, Kenya
“Sea level rise threatens key historical resources like Fort Jesus of Kenya’s port city of Mombasa. 36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea is an artwork that asks the world to reconsider their relationship with the sea, as both friend and foe. I am excited to see art discussing environmental issues with communities. I think it will provoke and inspire communities particularly in rural Africa to take action on environmental challenges that affect them.”
– Martin Marani, PhD, Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi
“I was very excited to be a part of the Kenyan regional producing team for 36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea. During her time in Kenya, Sarah worked with local artists, filmmakers and community leaders to develop the project. In hiring local individuals, this project provided an opportunity for artists in the region to explore their skills, and also receive economic support. For me, the core value of this project is rooted in local community engagement, and key collaborators from Bodo, had a voice in shaping the work. 36.5 is a unique project and was a relatively new medium of art for Mombasa audiences. It was so well received by local audiences and participants. I appreciated the fact that it engaged the community in a larger conversation regarding climate change and its impacts on our world.” – Karishma Bhagani, Kenya Producing Team
with UKT Group, Bodo Community, Fort Jesus Museum, University of Nairobi, House of Friends, Invoking the Pause
Dr. Kimingichi Wabende (fieldwork and artistic collaboration), Wakili Mwatondo (community mobilizer), Jordan Muindi and others (video support), Karishma Bhagani, Hellen Masido, Makena Magana, Deval Devani (producing team), Anthony Gathu (public relations)